Hartlepool United injury update: Paul Hartley addresses ex-Newcastle United and Accrington Stanley defenders ahead of Walsall trip
Paul Hartley hopes to have close to a full-strength squad to choose from when Hartlepool United travel to Walsall to begin the new League Two campaign this weekend.
Hartley watched on as his side wrapped up their pre-season schedule with a competitive draw against Sunderland at the Suit Direct Stadium.
Pools took the lead with their first attack of the evening when Jake Hastie’s cross was turned into his own net by a Sunderland defender.
But Pools had to withstand heavy pressure from the Black Cats and things finally told when Jack Diamond capitalised on an error by Callum Cooke to then draw a foul from the returning Euan Murray to win a penalty on the stroke of half-time.
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Elliot Embleton stepped up to dispatch confidently as the contest ended in a draw.
Pools were without full-backs Jamie Sterry and Reagan Ogle while Marcus Carver also continues to miss out with a thigh injury.
Ogle has featured heavily this pre-season while Sterry meanwhile continues to build up his fitness after a setback in his return last week.
“I would think so,” Hartley said when asked if he expects a clean bill of health in his squad.
“Sterry trained the other day. He will train again on Wednesday. Hopefully he can come through this week OK.
“Carver was back doing some light stuff, he could possibly be back next week.
“Ogle can hopefully be back in on Wednesday. He just took a knock last week so just had a little bit with his thigh but I’m sure he’ll be OK for Wednesday to join back in with training.”
And despite conceding the penalty, Hartley was pleased to see Murray back involved having missed much of pre-season with a hamstring issue.
“He was good and he was only planned for 45 minutes,” said Hartley.
“We changed three of the back four at half-time but he was always scheduled to play 45 minutes.
“We’ve got to keep people fit and ready for Saturday. We had to give some people 90 minutes because it’s needs must with the squad that we’ve got.
“[But] he came through it fine, he’s been training the last week or so and he’s looking good.
“There are always bumps and bruises and knocks, but hopefully we have come through it OK.”