Ronnie Moore will look to Mikael Mandron, Scott Fenwick and Rakish Bingham to fire Pools up the league after missing out on a deadline day signing.
The emergency loan window closed yesterday but Hartlepool United failed to bolster their squad ahead of tomorrow’s League Two visit of Oxford United to Victoria Park (KO 3pm).
Moore had been confident of securing a young attacking talent on loan, but the move never materialised, meaning Pools will have to go with their current squad until January.
It is a blow, given that captain and top scorer Billy Paynter is out until March with an Achilles injury.
On-loan Sunderland forward Mandron, Fenwick and Bingham will now be relied upon, while Rhys Oates could also be pushed up front into his more natural role.
The failure to add another new face hasn’t been for the want of trying though, with Moore also running the rule over three trialists in a behind-closed doors friendly against Burnley this week.
Moore told SportMail: “None grabbed my attention, but it’s always worth looking.
“As long as the agent puts them up, it doesn’t cost the club anything. We’ll reimburse them if we take the player, so they can keep sending as many as they like.
“We’ll always look because, sooner or later, you may pick up a little gem. But, of the present crop of three, nothing will probably happen with them.”
Pools’ midweek was disrupted following the late decision to call off the game at Accrington Stanley due to a waterlogged pitch.
Moore added: “We didn’t lose much ground in the table, when they are off like that sometimes it can put pressure on you if teams in and around you in pressure situations win.
“There’s not too much damage done – we trained on Wednesday, Sam [Collins] had them as I watched the reserves and we did a bit on team shape.
“We know they (Oxford) are 4-4-2 and it’s how we adapt and play.”
Moore’s first game in charge at The Vic was at home to Oxford, a game which ended all square, though Pools did beat them away as part of a four-game winning streak in March – a run that effectively kept the club up.
“We should have beaten them at home in my first game in charge,” added Moore.
“We were one up and drew and threw it away.
“We won at Oxford though – it was massive and it kicked us on a bit.
“Let’s hope we can continue in that vein.”
Oxford will be without injured striker Ryan Taylor, which will probably mean attacking ace Kemar Roofe will be moved up front.
The Yellows hope Danny Hylton will be fit after coming off in the midweek 1-1 draw with Newport feeling unwell.
Pat Hoban who left the bench to grab the 72nd-minute equaliser could come into the starting XI.
Oxford boss Michael Appleton signed Fulham youngster Jordan Evans on loan yesterday, though he is unlikely to dislodge Joe Skarz at left-back, given the good form of the ex-Pools player.
Pools (probable): Carson, Duckworth, Jackson, Bates, Carroll, Oates, Gray, Magnay, Naismith, Bingham, Mandron.
Subs (from): Bartlett, Richards, Jones, Harrison, Featherstone, Walker, Smith, Fenwick, Oyenuga.
Oxford United (probable): Buchel, Baldock, Mullins, Dunkley, Skarz, MacDonald, Lundstram, Sercombe, O’Dowda, Hylton, Roofe,
Subs: Slocombe, Rose, Hoban, Ruffels, Long, George, Evans
* Ebby Nelson-Addy has joined National League North side Worcester City on loan until January 2nd.
The 23-year-old is returning to a familiar club, having spent time at Worcester City prior to joining Pools.