RONNIE Moore is sweating on the fitness of David Mirfin for the relegation run-in after slamming his side’s defending as a “disgrace”.
Pools, who had Mirfin missing with a toe injury, were humbled 3-0 by Luton Town at Kenilworth Road.
We hope Mirf isn’t long term, but it is badly bruised.
It could have put a major dent in their survival hopes but defeats for Tranmere Rovers and Cheltenham Town incredibly sees Pools still hovering above the bottom two.
Moore’s side remain a point above the drop zone with two games to go.
But his defence has been rocked by the injury to on-loan Scunthorpe United defender Mirfin, which led to Pools reverting to a flat-back four.
Moore was left fuming with the defensive collapse and said it was “unbelievable” how much Mirfin was missed.
“We hope Mirf isn’t long term, but it is badly bruised,” said Moore.
“We were going to get an injection but he didn’t think he could play even with an injection.
“It needs to settle down now but it will be Wednesday or Thursday before we know [whether he will be fit to play].
“Thankfully there is no fracture and the ligaments are alright.
“It is just badly bruised and sore.
“Hopefully five or six days rest will settle it down.”
In particular, Dan Jones and Scott Harrison struggled to cope with Luton’s direct attacking play and Pools quickly found themselves 2-0 down after just 15 minutes.
Cameron McGeehan nodded them in front after five minutes before Jake Howells made no mistake from the penalty spot 10 minutes later.
Luton should have been out of sight before half-time before Scott Griffiths added a scruffy third after 71 minutes.
Moore was seething with his back four, with Neil Austin and Michael Duckworth also suffering a bad day at the office.
“It was a disgrace, defensively,” said Moore.
“You wouldn’t think how important that game was and that was what disappointed me.
“Everytime Luton went forward they looked like they were going to score.
“They had two lads up front, not the biggest, but they made life difficult and that was a big worry for me.
“We looked very vulnerable and I said to them I hope Mirf is fit because we cannot defend like that.
“If we do, then we will lose the next two games.”
Mirfin joined on loan from Scunthorpe on Deadline Day at the end of January and he has been a rock at the back, helping organise Harrison and Jones in a 3-5-2 formation.
But he damaged his toe in the 1-1 draw with Accrington Stanley and will be assessed ahead of the visit of Exeter City.
Moore added: “It was unbelievable how much we missed Mirf, I didn’t think we’d miss him that much.
“But Dan and Scotty are better players than they showed on Saturday.
“All three goals came from set plays and the third was straight from the ‘Dog and Duck’, to be allowed to turn and then get a shot in from there.
“Toe poked it in - that was so disappointing.”