Hartlepool United handed fitness boost - defender declared fit

Pools Michael Ledger.
Pools Michael Ledger.

Michael Ledger has handed Hartlepool United a fitness boost, with the news he is fit to return against Gateshead.

The Sunderland loan man has been plagued with injuries since making the temporary switch from the Stadium of Light in the summer.

But, having missed much of the festive period, Ledger has been passed fit by the Pools medical staff.

And given the situation, with Blair Adams suspended, it could be the case that he’s thrown straight into manager Craig Harrison’s starting XI.

“What the game being called off did for us was give a few players more time to get fit,” said Harrison.

“Michael Ledger is one of those players.

“He would not have been fit to play at Chester, but with an extra day or two training he will be fit enough to be involved.”

The same can be said of fellow defender Keith Watson.

The St Johnstone loan man, whose deal runs out next month, made a shock return to the Pools side for the final few minutes of the 2-2 Boxing Day draw at Gateshead’s International Stadium.

And having not kicked a ball for four months previous to that, a start at the Deva Stadium on Saturday would have almost certainly been beyond the Scot.

But with another couple of training sessions under his belt, and yet more recovery time, Watson has a decent chance of being thrown in from the off by Harrison.

The manager said: “Keith has had a chance to get two more training sessions in and should be fine for Monday,” he said.

News is not so good on midfielders Nicky Featherstone and Conor Newton, though.

Newton is yet to recover from an injury picked up in the warm up at Gateshead on Boxing Day, while Featherstone, set to skipper Pools that day, further aggravated an existing problem, having tried to rush himself back.

“There is a chance but I think it is unlikely,” said Harrison.

“We will see how they are.”