Hartlepool Utd’s injured duo still missing

Michael Duckworth is treated by Physio Ian Gallagher. Picture by FRANK REID
Michael Duckworth is treated by Physio Ian Gallagher. Picture by FRANK REID

INJURED Hartlepool United duo Neil Austin and Michael Duckworth will not be involved at Wycombe Wanderers because the pair are still struggling to regain full fitness.

Battling Austin hasn’t played for Pools since going off in the second-half of the goalless draw at home to Scunthorpe United at the start of February after injuring himself while making a block.

Austin went to see a specialist to see if orthotics can help and was fitted with them on Monday but the medical staff are having to take it day by day.

Duckworth, meanwhile, was carried off in the first-half of the 2-0 defeat at Northampton Town with fears he had broken his leg.

Thankfully scans revealed the 21-year-old had ‘only’ suffered soft tissue damage to his left leg and he missed last Saturday’s 3-0 home win over Torquay United.

It means young full-backs Jordan Richards and Darren Holden will again play in the wide roles at Adams Park outside captain Sam Collins and on-loan Middlesbrough defender Christian Burgess.

Speaking at Maiden Castle, gaffer Colin Cooper said it is a case of wait and see for the pair of them.

Both are highly unlikely to feature in the Accrington Stanley match on Tuesday night as well.

“Michael is better but not in consideration,” said Cooper.

“I keep going back to the pain he was in when he came off the pitch in the game at Northampton as for me, someone like Michael doesn’t show that amount of pain.

“It has settled though and he is getting battered in the physio department so the quicker he is back on the grass he will be happy.

“He is a little bit better but I would suggest he is at least a week away from anywhere we need him to be.”

And Austin?

Cooper added: “Neil has had some orthotics fitted.

“He was told the pressure on his toe was because his foot slightly pronates inwards and puts pressure on his toe every time he plants his foot.

“I have had times when I’ve had to have injections in my toes just to get my boot on and mother nature needs to heal.

“He tells me the orthotics have certainly helped though by taking the pressure off it.

“It is just a case of if they have done that can he jog, can he run, kick a ball and if they help with all that then great.

“If they don’t, there isn’t an awful lot we can do.

“We are trying every avenue we can.”

Cooper added: “At the moment we can’t consider him because he is still in pain.”