Hartlepool United preparing to make late fitness call on defensive duo ahead of Torquay United clash as Blackburn Rovers midfielder Tom White travels with view to loan extension

Dave Challinor is preparing to make a late fitness call on two key Hartlepool United defenders ahead of Saturday’s top of the table clash at Torquay United (3pm kick-off).

Friday, 5th March 2021, 12:15 pm

Pools make the long journey to the English Riviera knowing that a win could take them level on points with Torquay – who held a 14 point lead over Challinor’s side back in December.

But like The Gulls, Hartlepool have been hit with a slight injury crisis of late with key defenders Jamie Sterry and Ryan Johnson declared doubts for this weekend’s trip.

Johnson missed Tuesday night’s 1-1 draw at Halifax Town with a groin strain while Sterry was taken off after 70-minutes after experiencing an issue with his thigh.

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Ryan Johnson of Hartlepool United contests a header with JJ Hooper of Barnet during the Vanarama National League match between Hartlepool United and Barnet at Victoria Park, Hartlepool on Saturday 27th February 2021. (Credit: Mark Fletcher | MI News)

But the pair have made the journey down and Challinor is expecting to make a late call on whether they feature.

"Jamie and Johno are travelling with us, we’ll see how they are and leave it to the last minute,” said the Pools boss.

For us to have one of them will be available would give us options but for them both to be out means we’ll have to look at things. If not both, one will be available for us and allow us to carry out what we want.

“We’re travelling down and will train at Bristol on the way down and make some last minute calls on all of them with an eye on Tuesday as well.

“We’re going to have to be adaptable and flexible and the team we play Saturday will be different to the team that we play on Tuesday regardless of what happens.

"That’s what we need to be at the moment. I’m still positive we can go and put in a positive performance and get a good result.”

Pools will be without club captain Ryan Donaldson (foot) this weekend as well as Luke Williams who has suffered ‘a minor set-back’ in his return to full fitness.

Claudio Ofosu hasn’t made the journey either but one player who has is midfielder Tom White whose loan from Blackburn Rovers expired on Friday.

Challinor told The Mail: "Tom is with us on the bus so we’re hopeful of getting that [extension] sorted before the game.”

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