Colin Cooper set to name unchanged Hartlepool United team at Bristol Rovers

Matty Dolan is injured during the game against Accrington Stanley. Picture by FRANK REID
Matty Dolan is injured during the game against Accrington Stanley. Picture by FRANK REID

COLIN Cooper is set to name an unchanged side as Hartlepool United look to back up their opening League Two win with their first success on their travels.

The two main Pools injury doubts, Matty Dolan (ankle) and Neil Austin (hamstring) have both been passed fit for the trip to Bristol Rovers.

Both players have trained with the squad and, barring any reaction this morning, will board the team bus.

“All the bumps and bruises we had have cleared up,” Cooper said.

“We’ve had a bit of a bug this week but we’ll assess everything before we go.

“But the lads who’ve had physical injuries are thankfully all fine.”

Captain Antony Sweeney is one of the players who have been affected by the bug.

It ruled him out of Wednesday night’s reserve team defeat at Mansfield.

Cooper and assistant Craig Hignett had earmarked the Central League East match at the One Call Stadium as vital preparation towards a return to first team action.

Sweeney has not played since injuring his calf in the early stages of the opening home League Two game of the season.

It is unlikely that the goalscoring midfielder will be risked tomorrow given his lack of match fitness and practice.

And Cooper hinted at his pre-match media conference that it will not be a straight forward task for his skipper to get back in the stsarting XI.

“It’s been a bit frustrating for Antony but that’s part of football,” Cooper said.

“He is a Hartlepool lad, a great example as a professional and loves the club.

“He has to make sure he’s 100 per cent fit and if he’s close enough for the team and the trip we will see.

“He wants to be back playing and he’s fustrated.

“But he has to be fit and find a way to get into the team or we have to find a way for him to get back into the team.”

Should Sweeney not make the final 18, it could open up a route back for Brad Walker.

The teenager, a revelation so far this season, had featured in the opening eight matches of the programme but ankle troubnle ruled him out of game nine, the win over Accrington.

He should be back in the squad and on the bench tomorrow.

James Poole did his chances of making a return to the starting line-up no harm with a fine display in the 3-1 midweek reserve team defeat at Mansfield.

But he, like Walker, is likely to have to be content with a subs spot.

Pools (probable): Flinders, Duckworth, Burgess, Austin, Franks, Walton, Dolan, Compton, Monkhouse, James. Subs (from): Rafferty, Richards, Collins, Walker, Howard, Poole, Rodney, Sweeney.