Injury update on Hartlepool United duo ahead of Chester clash

Hartlepool United boss Craig Harrison is not expecting to be able to call upon Nicky Featherstone or Conor Newton for the trip to Chester this weekend.

Thursday, 28th December 2017, 6:00 am
Hartlepool United V Maidenhead. National League. Connor Newton with the ball. Picture: TOM BANKS

The duo were both initially named in the matchday 16 for the eventual 2-2 draw against Gateshead.

But skipper for the day Featherstone did not feel right in the warm-up and was forced to sit out the entertaining International Stadium clash.

The same can be said of former Newcastle United kid Newton, who had been set to take his place on the bench, but had to be replaced among the subs by James Thorne, after suffering a twinge in his groin.

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And just when manager Harrison had started to feel like there was light at the end of the tunnel after a winter of discontent on the injury front at Victoria Park, yet more players have joined the queue for treatment room.

Harrison does not think either of his midfielders will be fit to travel to Chester, and also rates them as doubtful for the Gateshead home encounter on Monday afternoon.

When asked whether he’s have either available, Harrison said: “Probably not.

“Nicky, being a senior player, was desperate to get back to help the lads in the week, he was desperate to be back in the team. But he just did not feel 100% and so he had to sit the game out.

“Conor had nothing wrong at all, he was fit heading into the warm up. But he then felt something when he was out on the pitch with the others. He turned and felt his groin in the warm-up and then that was the end of his afternoon.”

Lewis Hawkins is likely to slot back into the centre, after a stint at right-back on Saturday after the sending off of Blair Adams, who serves a one-game suspension this weekend.

Alongside him options are limited, although Michael Woods is a certainty to be selected in there, given that he put in one of his best performances in blue and white, when backs were against the wall, on Boxing Day. It could be the case that Jonathan Franks is asked to do a job, or Liam Donnelly switches further forward, as he has done so often with ease in the past.

Meanwhile, Harrison says Pools must be extra careful with Newton’s problem.

“He has turned and his groin has felt a bit tight. We need to bec areful with muscle injuries because we have had a lot lately,” said the manager.

“We must take precautions.”

Keith Watson could be involved, although a start may be beyond the player.

“It was important to have him back on the field - he is a leader,” said Harrison. “He’s a great character around the place.”