Fitness boost for Hartlepool United and caretaker boss Matthew Bates

Liam Donnelly
Liam Donnelly

Hartlepool United could be boosted by the return of Liam Donnelly to their ranks tomorrow.

And Luke George is also expected to be thrown back into the starting line-up against Ebbsfleet United.

Donnelly is set to have his ankle assessed today by club medical staff, having missed the last three games. A late call will be made on the Northern Ireland Under-21 skipper’s availability, but there is hope that he could be in contention to boost the limited options available to caretaker boss Matthew Bates.

George, after a week’s rest, could also return.

The 25-year-old former Chester man sat out Tuesday’s defeat to Halifax Town, after former boss Craig Harrison refused to risk the player for a second game in quick succession, after so long on the sidelines.

But he is expected to be fine for tomorrow, although he is unlikely to be joined by Michael Ledger.

The on-loan centre-back has been back at parent club Sunderland receiving treatment and will not be rushed back into action, after what has been an injury-hit campaign to date.

Ryan Donaldson, Aaron Cunningham and Kenton Richardson remain on the long-term injury list. Wideman Donaldson is still recovering after a double operation on an ankle injury, with Cunningham recovering from a similar problem.

Young full-back Richardson is still in the treatment room after an operation to fix a fractured collarbone.

Ebbsfleet boss Daryl McMahon was boosted last week with the arrival of Corey Whitely from Dagenham & Redbridge and he’s a likely starter at the Vic after coming off the bench to score on his debut at Halifax.