Hartlepool Utd v Portsmouth: Paynter back to face Pompey after five-game lay-off

Billy Paynter

Billy Paynter

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Billy Paynter makes his return for Hartlepool United against Portsmouth this afternoon after a five game layoff.

Paynter hasn’t played since the 1-0 defeat to Carlisle in early April because of a hamstring injury, but the club captain lines up in attack alongside Luke James in the club’s final home game of the season where he will be looking to add to his season goal tally of 15.

In the only other change, Jake Carroll isn’t selected in the matchday squad due to a calf injury, meaning Dan Jones replaces him at left back.

Jones is joined in defence by Matthew Bates, Adam Jackson – his last home game on loan from Middlesbrough – and Carl Magnay.

Nicky Featherstone, Lewis Hawkins and Michael Woods pack the midfield with Thomas joining in the action out wide.

Kal Naismith, who played four games for Pools earlier this season, starts for a Portsmouth side who can still secure automatic promotion if they win today and other results go in their favour.

Christian Burgess also makes a return to The Vic, the centre-half who played 46 games for Pools two seasons ago, starting at the heart of defence for Pompey.

Pools: Carson, Magnay, Bates, Jackson, D. Jones; Featherstone, Woods, Hawkins; James, Paynter, Thomas

Subs: Bartlett, Walker, Bingham, Oates, Richards, R. Jones, Gray

Portsmouth: Murphy, Stevens, Burgess, Barton, Freeman; Doyle, Hollands, Naismith, Roberts; Evans, Smith

Subs: Davies, McGurk, Whatmough, Tollitt, Chaplin, Close, Haunstrup