Hartlepool United boss Matthew Bates has revealed he’s ready to unleash ‘frustrated’ Luke Williams on the National League.
The Pools midfielder has been out since signing on a free transfer this summer, with first tonsilitis, then a knock in training keeping the former Middlesbrough man sidelined.
But for tomorrow’s clash against Aldershot Williams is expected to be on the bench.
And Bates says the player is more than ready to make an impact for promotion-chasing Pools.
“Luke is training with us. He is a player who has been frustrated,” said the manager.
“We have been there with Luke before but hopefully he is fit enough to train fully on Friday. He did a half session on Thursday.
“If he can come through unscathed, he will be OK for Saturday.”
Bates continued: “It is a one of those things for him - he is frustrated.
“Apart from Tuesday, because of the results, we haven’t really missed him.
“We have got away with it but, without tempting fate, we do truthfully hope he is back this weekend.”
Meanwhile, Bates has offered an injury update on key first-team duo Ryan Donaldson and Niko Muir.
Muir limped out of Tuesday’s 3-0 defeat to Salford City after just 17 minutes, having twisted his ankle.
Donaldson tweaked a hamstring earlier this month against Eastleigh and missed both the Salford clash and the trip to Halifax Town last weekend.
Bates, though, is hopeful that both could yet be involved this weekend against Aldershot.
On Muir, he said: “He is going to get assessed again today (Thursday) and we will see how he is. We hope he will train with us tomorrow.
“But we will not know where we are at until after the assessment. It is still early days with it really.
“We thought it was a kick at the game, that was what it seemed to be from the pain he showed. But, watching it back, and being assessed, it looks like a twisted ankle.
“From what the physio says it will not be a serious one, though. A day in the treatment room will hopefully help.”
On Donaldson, the manager added: “It is the same for Ryan.
“He is not training with us today but fingers crossed he will be back tomorrow. He was a big miss for us on Tuesday so we want him back.”
One concern for Poolies this campaign has been a lack of goals.
Bates’ men have scored just 15 goals in their 13 fifth tier games so far this season.
The manager has faith Muir and Luke James will chip in with their fair share.
“The strikers want to score - this is what they are paid for,” he said.
“Their movement is incredible up top and at the moment they are creating the chances for others to take. They will get goals if they continue in this form.”