Happy birthday to Hartlepool boss Ronnie Moore

Hartlepool United manager Ronnie Moore during the game against Wycombe Wanderers.
Hartlepool United manager Ronnie Moore during the game against Wycombe Wanderers.

RONNIE Moore is hoping for a belated birthday present - three gift-wrapped points at home to Plymouth Argyle tomorrow.

The Pools boss celebrated his 62nd birthday yesterday at a snow-covered Maiden Castle and he admitted he would love nothing more than to be cheering his second win since taking charge at Pools come teatime tomorrow.

Moore is good pals with Plymouth boss John Sheridan and he spent time with his former coach at Oldham earlier this week after watching transfer target Marvin Morgan in action for their reserves.

He is expecting a tough afternoon though against their in-form strike pairing Reuben Reid and Lewis Alessandra.

Moore told SportMail: “It would be great to celebrate my birthday with a win - especially against my mate.

“I know Shez really well and gave him a coaching opportunity at Oldham when I was there.

“They are a few points off the play-offs and want to get in there.

“He’s lost three vital players who have been recalled back to their clubs but he knows the game and this will be a tough one for us.

“They have quality throughout and the front two will be a handful.

“I went down to Plymouth to see Shez this week, that is a quarter to nine in the morning job and getting back late at night.

“I was like the Tin Man when I got out of the car!”

Moore tweaked his formation at Tranmere Rovers, with Scott Fenwick and Jonathan Franks providing support from the flanks for Rakish Bingham up front.

The Pools boss will consider making changes to his side but admits playing Matthew Bates again in the holding midfield role could prove fruitful again.

“Plymouth are 3-5-2 and we have to look at our shape at home,” said Moore.

“Sometimes people think it is negative but we are still playing with three strikers - Franks, Bings and Fenwick.

“They are out and out strikers, Franksy plays out wide but he’d rather be playing up top.

“No one can say we are negative and we went to Tranmere and created a lot of chances.

“The big thing about that was the position Michael Woods played in, he was outstanding, got on the ball and his passing range is superb.

“We need that from Woodsy because if he plays well, we play well.

“We also needed Batesy in the holding midfield role and he did a terrific job for us and there may be scope for Batesy to continue in that role [against Plymouth].

“He looked comfortable and has good feet for a centre half.

“Batesy is more defensive minded than anybody else we have at the club to play that role.”

Sheridan, meanwhile, has been boosted by the news that an x-ray showed no fracture of Luke McCormick’s finger after the keeper was forced off during their 1-1 draw with Morecambe last Saturday.

Defender Kelvin Mellor had a pain-killing injection before playing 60 minutes with a shoulder problem but he should play a part.

Midfielder Jason Banton is a doubt thought after being injured in the reserves midweek.

Meanwhile, former Pools defender Peter Hartley is hoping to return to contention after a long-term hip problem and could make the bench on his return to The Vic.

Pools (likely): Flinders, Duckworth, Harrison, Jones, Austin, Bates, Woods, Tshibola, Franks, Fenwick, Bingham.

Subs (from): Maxted, Richards, Holden, Featherstone, Walker, Green, Smith, Compton, Harewood.

Plymouth (likely): McCormick, Nelson, McHugh, Flanagan, Mellor, Cox, Reid, Lee, Purrington, Reid, Alessandra.

Subs: Bittner, Norburn, Banton, Thomas, Bentley, Brunt, Hartley.