MARLON Harewood could be set for a return from a nasty ankle injury to make Hartlepool United’s trip to Portsmouth.
The 34-year-old took a heavy knock during the 4-2 defeat at home to Mansfield Town last Tuesday and was forced to sit out of the weekend 1-0 defeat against Cheltenham Town.
Pools missed his presence up front as they struggled to break down a stubborn Town defence and now manager Colin Cooper is hoping to be have him back fit, with Harewood working closely with the club’s head physiotherapist Ian Gallagher.
But if the former Nottingham Forest and West Ham United striker, who has netted three goals in 14 appearances, does miss the trip to the south coast on Saturday then Cooper insists it isn’t the end of the world.
Instead, he has challenged the club’s other strikers to make themselves a “hero” in the remaining six games of the Sky Bet League Two campaign.
The club’s 15-goal top scorer Luke James started the Cheltenham match up front alongside Jonathan Franks, with James Poole on the bench.
Cooper told SportMail: “Hopefully we will have him back for the weekend.
“We can’t guarantee it because it turned out to be a nasty injury.
“We had it X-rayed to be sure because he was getting pain in an area that Buster wasn’t happy with. It was a nasty knock.
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“Hopefully we will get him back before the end of the week but if we don’t, we don’t. That’s is life.
“The strikers we have at the club – Poolie, Franksy, Luke – have a six-game block.
“All I have said is who wants to play in the last six, who wants to be a hero and make an impact and make sure our season doesn’t fizzle out.
“Don’t let’s finish in the bottom half because we are better than that.”
Meanwhile, Cooper is still unable to call on the services of Neil Austin (toe), Andy Monkhouse (hamstring) and Antony Sweeney (hamstring).
Monkhouse suffered a grade two strain in his left hamstring after being taken off in the early stages of the home game against Bristol Rovers but is expected to play some part before the end of the season.
But it is the injury suffered to Sweeney in the later stages of the Mansfield Town defeat that is causing most concern.
“Unfortunately, Sweeney’s injury is more severe,” Cooper added.
“We are waiting to get a re-assessment because the scan wasn’t clear enough.
“We went back to the hospital to get him re-assessed with an ultra-sound scan and Buster thinks it is a little similar to Andy Monkhouse.
“He may not make the pitch, if he does, it will be a bit of a bonus, really.”