Hartlepool United manager Kevin Phillips faces another decision at right-back as Pools prepare to take on local rivals Gateshead

Hartlepool United manager Kevin Phillips looks set to make yet another change at right-back ahead of this evening's trip to Gateshead.
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Alex Lacey, who had been working his way towards full fitness following four months on the sidelines, appeared in line for a run in the team in the unfamiliar role until he suffered more injury woe at the weekend.

Injuries have haunted the 30-year-old throughout his career and his time at Pools has been no different.

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An hour into just his second start since returning from his long-lay off against Eastleigh on Saturday, he pulled up and limped down the tunnel after sustaining what appeared to be a hamstring strain.

The luckless Alex Lacey sustained another injury on Saturday.The luckless Alex Lacey sustained another injury on Saturday.
The luckless Alex Lacey sustained another injury on Saturday.

Phillips had two options at full-back available to him on the bench and turned to the more experienced Manny Onariase, while Louis Stephenson - a natural full-back but at 18 still lacking in experience - made a cameo further forward.

The versatile Terrell Agyemang, who is comfortable at full-back having spent much of his time in the Manchester City and Middlesbrough academies playing there, impressed on the left of midfield on Saturday and looks set to remain in the role on Tuesday.

Kwaku Oduroh, who played 45 minutes on his debut against Barnet but was not in the squad at the weekend, does not appear to be in contention for a starting berth, meaning it's likely Phillips will be deciding between Onariase and Stephenson.

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Given that Onariase was preferred from the bench on Saturday, the 27-year-old looks like the likeliest candidate while Phillips could again be tempted to make use of Stephenson's drive and determination in a more forward role.

The renewed debate all stems from another bitter blow for the luckless Lacey, who was the second player within 48 hours to pull up with hamstring problems after Brennan Dickenson was ruled out of the trip to Hampshire following an injury in training.

And Phillips expressed his disappointment for Lacey while sharing his own theory as to why Pools have struggled with so many muscle injuries this season.

"He said he felt something but I don't think he felt it go," he said.

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"That's good news but I'd be very surprised if he was available for Tuesday and Friday, and possibly Monday.

"We lost Brennan Dickenson on Friday as well to another hamstring.

"I've got my theories on that. We've got a fantastic training ground but we go from grass to astroturf and, for me, it's not good.

"We want to train on the grass where we are but it's been so wet that we've been training mainly on the astroturf, that's the only thing I can think of.

"It's something that needs to be looked at for next season, that's for sure."

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