Craig Hignett provides Hartlepool United fitness update ahead of season opener

Hartlepool United’s strength in depth is going to come in handy for manager Craig Hignett in the opening weeks of the season as at least three key players are set to remain sidelined.

Thursday, 1st August 2019, 10:53 am
Josh Hawkes is set to miss the opening matches of the season with a hamstring injury (photo: Frank Reid).

Captain Ryan Donaldson has missed the whole of pre-season with a calf injury while young stars Luke Molyneux and Josh Hawkes picked up respective foot and hamstring injuries during friendly matches that will keep them sidelined for the opening weeks of the campaign.

Myles Anderson (mouth) and Luke Williams (knee) have also seen their game-time significantly limited in preparation for the competitive season due to longer standing injuries – the latter sat out Thursday’s training session.

Featuring on the bench for Saturday’s opener against Sutton (3pm kick-off) will be the aim for both.

Hignett can only choose 16 players as part of his matchday squad and the competition for places means it’s easy for players to miss out.

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“We’ve had a couple of injuries but the squad is strong enough to cope with that, the preparations have gone down really well and we know how Sutton are going to play,” said the Hartlepool manager.

“I’ve got 16 or 17 players who could all step in and play which is what I want.

“No one is any closer really, certainly Ryan isn’t. Luke is progressing really well but it will come too soon for him and Josh Hawkes is still a couple of weeks away.

“Apart from that we’re not too bad with injuries – we’ve got 16, 17 people training today so the squad is in a good place.”