Hartlepool team news: Defender returns, formation switch for Pools

Rob Jones.Rob Jones.
Rob Jones.
Hartlepool United defender Rob Jones has been restored to the starting XI for the FA Cup clash with Port Vale.

Craig Hignett has handed the 37-year-old his first start since September 10, while Michael Woods is also brought into the midfield.

Lewis Hawkins and the suspended Scott Harrison drop out.

James Martin, who had started the last two games, is on the bench with Jake Carroll preferred at left-back.

Toto Nsiala is expected to play at right-back.

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The second round encounter at Vale Park has not only seen manager Craig Hignett shuffle his pack in terms of personnel, the gaffer has also switched formation.

Instead of sticking with the 3-4-3, deployed in the last two outings, he has reverted back to a 4-3-3, which has served Pools well on the road this campaign.

Pools XI: Trevor Carson, Toto Nsiala, Rob Jones, Matthew Bates, Jake Carroll, Nicky Featherstone, Josh Laurent, Michael Woods, Nicky Deverdics, Lewis Alessandra, Padraig Amond.

Subs: Adam Bartlett, James Martin, Rhys Oates, Jordan Richards, Jake Orrell, Lewis Hawkins, Billy Paynter.