Hartlepool United’s James Brown and Colin Nish prove their fitness for Stevenage FA Cup tie

Julio Arca and Jack Baldwin challenge for the ball.
Julio Arca and Jack Baldwin challenge for the ball.

COLIN Nish proved his fitness for a return to Hartlepool United’s first-team squad for Saturday’s first steps on the road to Wembley.

Nish played the first hour for Pools reserves in their Central League East 3-0 defeat at the hands of neighbours Middlesbrough.

But the man in blue and white to catch the eye at Rockliffe Park turned out to be James Brown.

The 24-year-old, whose career has been ravaged by knee problems, looked bright and full of life against Boro’s second strong and was desperately unlucky not to leave Hurworth empty-handed.

Brown, who has been a sub for three of the last four League One games, may have to be content for a place on the bench again this Saturday against Stevenage.

But the forward/midfielder displayed enough signs to back up his hope that he is “getting there.”

He gave Boro problems, went looking for the ball and played the entire 90 minutes, it would appear, with no ill-effects.

Pools reserve team boss Michael Barron said: “That’s the sharpest we’ve seen James – he was getting into some real good areas and he was very lively.”

Read full report in today’s Sportmail.