Defender touch and go for Hartlepool United return

Liam Donnelly.
Liam Donnelly.

Hartlepool United defender Liam Donnelly is touch and go to return against Aldershot tonight.

The Northern Irishman returned to first-team training last week, but working on an artificial surface, at Seaton Carew’s Sports Domes, means the club’s medical staff are not 100% certain whether Donnelly will be ready for action.

Caretaker Matthew Bates says the player’s injury will be assessed prior to the EBB Stadium clash.

“The surface has not helped him,” said Bates.

“We need to make sure we protect him. We will assess it. It might come too soon.”

Bates believes his players must show the opposition respect this evening, although he admits to being impressed by their approach in the run-up to this crucial National League encounter.

“I have been really happy with the lads’ attitude,” said Bates.

“They have shown application, too. They have taken in the little tweaks I wanted to make to the side.

“They have all bought into what I wanted to do.

“The lads are expecting a tough game but if we stick to the gameplan there is no reason why we can’t get a result.

“We need to show them the utmost respect as we know they are a very good team.”

This game was, of course, originally set for Saturday, but due to adverse conditions was nudged back.

Bates said: “I think it was the right call.

“We were all worried about the travel down there for us and the fans, the state of their pitch and the ground.

“After such a disappointing defeat, we wanted to get out there and put it right but we can have no complaints about the call-off.”