Former Sunderland striker Luke Molyneux a doubt for Hartlepool United's trip to face Sheffield Wednesday in the Papa John's Trophy

Luke Molyneux will be a doubt for Hartlepool United’s trip to Hillsborough in the Papa John’s Trophy second round this week.

Tuesday, 30th November 2021, 6:00 am

Molyneux was substituted at half time of Saturday’s League Two defeat at Port Vale with caretaker boss Antony Sweeney explaining the forward had felt a tightness in his calf.

The 23-year-old was one of Pools’ more threatening players in the opening 45 minutes at Vale Park but Sweeney admitted he was withdrawn as a precaution ahead of a crucial run of games over the December period.

And Molyneux’s withdrawal is likely to mean he will miss the club’s trip to face Sheffield Wednesday in EFL Trophy action this week.

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Luke Molyneux was forced to come off with a calf injury in the defeat at Port Vale (Credit: James Holyoak | MI News)

“A calf strain might be a bit too much. Hopefully we’ve caught it before it becomes any strain,” Sweeney told The Mail.

“He had a massive workload on Tuesday night against Swindon.

“Nothing that we do is done off the cuff. It’s done with insight and information, so we knew he’d put his body through a fair bit on Tuesday night.

“We had to because he’s one of our key players and if we’re going to pick up points he's going to be a key part of that.

“He got cramp on Tuesday night and has done very little [since] if I'm honest.

“We’ve tried to get him right and he just felt as though his calf was tightening up at half time.

“If I had asked him to, he would have went out there in the second half, but if I’d have put him out there and he’d have blown his calf then I think questions rightly would have been asked.

“So it was one where we erred on the side of caution but did it for the right reasons.”

Molyneux has been one of Pools’ key players this season and has been a regular for both former boss Dave Challinor and interim manager Sweeney, scoring four times in 24 appearances.

But with a Papa John’s Trophy tie followed by an FA Cup second round fixture at League One Lincoln City at the weekend, now seems as good a time as any to ensure the former Sunderland striker does not suffer a further setback which could potentially rule him out of the Christmas period.

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