JAMES Poole is set to win a recall for tomorrow’s visit of Crawley Town (kick off 3pm) – but Luke James is staring at a lengthy spell on the sidelines.
James, the 17-year-old forward, returned from a meeting with a specialist this week with bad news for manager Neale Cooper, and a hernia problem will keep him out for several weeks at least.
Poole, on the other hand, delivered a welcome boost for his boss on Wednesday night with a goal and lively performance in the reserve-team win at Tranmere Rovers.
And that, it appears, will earn him a first start in four matches.
“James worked hard for the reserves and got a good goal,” said Cooper, “So he could be involved.
“If he’s given an opportunity he has to come and play for the full match, not just 40 minutes.
“Some days that’s what he’s done and it’s been frustrating.
“I want to see him have a good first half and a good second half.
“This is a chance for him.”
But the news on James is not so positive.
The Amble-born starlet has been missing since complaining of a pelvic problem playing for Pools’ second-string earlier this month.
And Cooper revealed: “Luke will be out for a wee while.
“He’s been to see a specialist and it doesn’t look good.
“It’s a hernia problem.
“He’s had a tough time.
“So we wish him all the best.”
Poole is likely to replace Ritchie Humphreys or Sunderland loanee Ryan Noble for the visit of The Red Devils.
Cooper has been disappointed with the form of Noble since his return to Victoria Park, while Jonathan Franks is another who the manager has sought to address personally.
“I spoke with Jon privately on Wednesday and I’ll speak to him again,” said the Scot.
“I don’t know why he’s dropped off.
“He knows himself that’s not good enough.
“Ryan’s got to do better as well.
“They could be two important players for us.”
Andy Monkhouse (ankle) and Middlesbrough forward Charlie Wyke (ankle) are definitely missing, while Evan Horwood (heel) is rated as doubtful.
And Cooper went on: “There’s a few boys out but you have to deal with that.
“It was a long journey home after Leyton Orient and you think things over.
“It’s mentally tiring.
“But I’ve got to be positive and upbeat around the place.
“They are in good spirit and we’ve got to come out tomorrow and make it about us.”
POOLS: Flinders; Austin, Baldwin, Hartley, Holden; Franks, Murray, Sweeney, Poole; Noble, Howard. Subs: McHugh, Humphreys, Horwood, Luscombe, Walton, Collins, Richards