Harrison waits on defensive injury news

Michael Ledger.
Michael Ledger.

Craig Harrison is waiting on fitness updates on his defenders after Hartlepool United suffered a double injury blow.

Pools went into Saturday’s home match against Eastleigh not just without key centre-half, Keith Watson, who suffered a knee injury at Leyton Orient the previous weekend.

The manager then lost his ‘partner in crime’, Michael Ledger, with the on-loan Sunderland man struggling with back trouble.

Harrison had been faced with a quandary of whether to bring in Louis Laing OR Liam Donnelly to go into combat with the Spitfires and, in the end, needed both.

Despite being a new partnership, the Laing-Donnelly alliance performed well after a slightly tentative opening.

However, the loss of the Watson-Ledger partnership was a serious set-back to Harrison – it is no coincidence the Pools turnaround has come since hey came together at the heart of the defence.

“All our central defenders have been injured at some stage,” shrugged Harrison.

“Unfortunately, Keith took a heavy blow and his injury is now in the hands of an expert. We’re waiting for the analysis of a CT scan and the we’ll know a little bit more then.

“Ledge pulled up with a tight back in training. It’s been causing him tight groins and hamstrings.

“We couldn’t risk a muscle injury.

“He should be able to train either today or tomorrow.

“He was 30-70 to play on Saturday and we could not risk him getting injured and being out for six to eight weeks. That’s the last thing we want.

“Obviously Laingy has come back in and we’ve brought Liam in too.”

Harrison will hope Ledger is fit to line up at Woking this Saturday, when Pools will look to return to winning ways.

“The players are disappointed there is not a Tuesday night game to get back on the points trail again,” said the former TNS boss.

“But in the long run it will do the lads good to have that recovery time.”

Harrison will want, and expect, a reaction from his players at the Kingfield Stadium after the 2-1 defeat by the Spitfires halted their five-match unbeaten run.

Pools frittered away several openings as they tried to turn around a one-goal deficit for the second Saturday in a row.

After conceding early second-half goals to Callum Howe and Mark Yeates, Pools have put on a lot of pressure but only scored one goal, albeit a lovely finish from sub Jack Munns.

“Eastleight defended stoutly,” said Harrison. “Their central defenders have headed and kicked everything and their keeper has made two or three good saves.

“At the other end, we’ve not defended our set plays, something I’m a big stickler on.

“It’s really disappointed me.”