Graeme Lee explains reason why Mark Shelton and Gavan Holohan were not involved as Hartlepool United were beaten by Bradford City at the Suit Direct Stadium

Graeme Lee has revealed the decision behind his team selection after making three changes ahead of Hartlepool United’s defeat by Bradford City.

Pools were edged out of a close contest after the Bantams scored twice in six minutes in the final quarter of the game to put the game beyond the reach of Lee’s side.

Matt Foulds capped a swift counter-attack from Mark Hughes’ side after Pools were attacking a corner before defender Yann Songoo converted at the near post from a corner of their own as Lee suffered his first defeat at the Suit Direct Stadium.

Lee brought in midfielder Martin Smith in place of Mark Shelton while Luke Molyneux returned to the side in place of Tom Crawford after starting Saturday’s stalemate with Leyton Orient on the bench.

Gavan Holohan missed Hartlepool United's defeat to Bradford City with a calf injury. (Credit: Will Matthews | MI News)

Meanwhile Marcus Carver earned his first home start for Pools since joining in January in place of Omar Bogle who dropped to the bench.

And Lee has revealed the move behind those changes was due to what is a busy week for Pools with three games, while Shelton also picked up a hamstring injury in training ahead of the game ruling him out of the squad altogether.

There was further surprise when Irish midfielder Gavan Holohan was also not involved in the squad with Lee confirming the 30-year-old is also struggling with a calf issue.

“Omar has gone from someone who hasn’t played a hell of a lot this season to being thrown in and having to play every game and it’s a big week in the sense of the amount of games and the fatigue from Saturday,” said Lee.

Mark Shelton reported a hamstring issue which kept him out of Hartlepool United's defeat to Bradford City. (Credit: Mark Fletcher | MI News)

“He just needed a little bit of a rest so hopefully he can go again.

“Smith has had to come in, he’s been chomping at the bit to try and get game time, but Shelts reported a hamstring injury this morning from training and Gav Holohan reported a minor calf injury yesterday morning and said he wouldn’t be fit.

“So you look at your squad and look at who’s the best fit to come in.

“I thought Crawford, like Omar, has played a lot of games. I think his last two performances have probably been a little bit off because he covers a lot of ground.

“So I just thought I'd freshen it up. Smudge has come in and performance-wise I was pleased.”

Asked whether both Shelton and Holohan might have been in contention for the game had they not reported injuries, Lee suggested both might have featured against the Bantams.

“Shelts was down. I’d done a bit of work on the team yesterday but probably both of them would have been [in contention],” Lee told The Mail.

“But Gav reported when he came in on Monday and said he wasn’t available for the game and Shelts did all the work yesterday and said he felt a twinge after training which he reported to the physios and unfortunately it tightened up today.”

Lee will now be hoping both Shelton and Holohan see their injuries clear up ahead of a trip to Newport County on Friday.

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