kHartlepool United boss Ronnie Moore is desperate for return of several key players to give him welcome selection headache

Michael Duckworth in action for Hartlepool United against Chesterfield. Picture by FRANK REID

Michael Duckworth in action for Hartlepool United against Chesterfield. Picture by FRANK REID

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Ronnie Moore is desperate for the return of several key players to give him a welcome selection headache.

Long-term absentees Michael Duckworth, Carl Magnay and Harry Worley are edging back towards full fitness but none are expected to be back in the matchday squad for at least 10 days.

They are coming back, key players, ready to get involved again and it will be great for me to have options. I want this headache

Ronnie Moore

A frustrated Moore admits their return would give his selection options a major boost as Pools look to battle their way up the league table.

Right back Duckworth has been unavailable for selection since before Christmas after picking up a stomach strain.

The injury was originally meant to keep the former Bradford Park Avenue player out for three to four weeks but his comeback has been delayed and he won’t be fit for at least a week.

“Duckworth will be another 10 days, he’s still a little sore,” said Moore ahead of today’s League Two clash with Cambridge United at The Abbey Stadium.

“It might have been better had he got a hernia.

“It’s a muscle very low down and he’s been in a lot of discomfort.

“He’s feeling better.”

Centre back Worley, meanwhile, is continuing his come back from ankle surgery which has sidelined him for 14 weeks.

Moore has said he was pleased to have members of his squad back in contention, but admitted he may be forced to loan a few out to ensure the squad remains ‘balanced’.

“Harry will be around a similar sort of time,” added the Pools boss.

“We’ll have an overload of players soon!

“We may have to shift one or two out on loan just to balance things up.”

Another player looking to return from injury is summer signing Magnay.

The versatile former Gateshead man has been in and out of the side since joining from National League outfit Grimsby Town in the summer, through injury and lengthy suspensions.

Magnay, comfortable at right back or in central midfield, hasn’t played since coming off injured late in the 2-­0 FA Cup win over Salford City.

But Moore admits that while the Cambridge game will come to soon for Magnay he is confident it won’t be long until he is back in a Hartlepool shirt.

“If he [Magnay] comes through training , he’ll have a game on Tuesday definitely,” added Moore.

“Magnay will train, for the first time in a long time and we hope he can get fit.

“Injured players do work hard, they get battered by Buster [head physio Ian Gallagher] but it’s a completely different sort of fitness to playing football.

“We have to say Carl has trained and, as much as we want him to play, he can’t.

“We have to focus on next week for the injured lads.”

Moore will be looking to arrest an alarming run of form which has the seen his side fail to win back-­to-back wins since the opening three games of the season.

This was evident as Pools slumped to defeat at Accrington Stanley on Tuesday after failing to build on an impressive victory over Wycombe Wanderers last Saturday.

But Moore is confident that important players returning will give a competitive edge to the squad, a selection headache he is only to happy to have.

“They are coming back, key players, ready to get involved again and it will be great for me to have options.”

“I want this headache,” he added.