Graeme Lee gives update on Hartlepool United strikers including former Sunderland man ahead of League Two match with Rochdale

Graeme Lee has provided an update on the fitness of striker’s Mark Cullen and Luke Molyneux insisting both should be available for Wednesday’s League Two fixture with Rochdale.

Tuesday, 7th December 2021, 9:19 am

Cullen came off during Saturday’s 1-0 win over Lincoln City in the FA Cup not long after he could be seen clutching his ankle following an awkward tumble when challenging for a header with Imps defender Lewis Montsma.

Cullen was replaced by Will Goodwin but Lee remained confident the 29-year-old will be fit for Wednesday’s showdown at the Suit Direct Stadium.

“He’s ok. I wanted to freshen it up and bring some more legs on up top,” Lee told The Mail.

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Luke Molyneux completed 90 minutes in Hartlepool United's FA Cup success over Lincoln City (Credit: James Holyoak | MI News)

“They both [Cullen and Molyneux] put a shift in and we asked him to give us five more minutes and when he did have a little niggle we just thought ‘lets do it now’.

“But there’s no worries, he wasn’t on the physio bed when I left so he’s good.”

Cullen is Pools’ joint leading goalscorer in the league with three goals and has established himself as the main man alongside Molyneux in attack.

Cullen’s withdrawal however meant strike partner Molyneux completed the full 90 minutes at Sincil Bank after being forced off himself at half time in the League Two defeat at Port Vale with a tight calf.

Mark Cullen was substituted after appearing to take a knock in the win over Lincoln City (Credit: Will Matthews | MI News)

The former Sunderland man was not involved at all during the midweek win over Sheffield Wednesday in the Papa John’s Trophy with then interim boss Antony Sweeney hoping the club had protected the 23-year-old enough to avoid the issue becoming worse.

And Molyneux showed no signs of stress on Saturday putting in a good display as Pools booked their spot in the third round of the competition.

Molyneux has made 25 appearances for Pools this season scoring four times as he continues to impress in his third season at the Suit Direct Stadium.

“He’s got no problems,” Lee revealed.

“We asked him after about 75 minutes and we were shouting on to him. You just want a bit of an honest answer at that stage. Do you still feel fresh? Because we need those legs on there.

“But he worked his socks off and he got through the game and looked like he had no problems so it was pleasing.”

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