Hartlepool United set to be handed double fitness boost

Carl Magnay
Carl Magnay

Hartlepool United boss Craig Harrison is hopeful he will have both Carl Magnay and Michael Ledger fit for selection next weekend.

Pools host Aldershot at Victoria Park a week today, and the defensive duo are both closing in on a return to full fitness after operations.

Sunderland loanee Ledger went under the knife on Monday to fix a broken nose suffered in the away day win at Torquay United.

Magnay, meanwhile, has been out of action since last month, after a hernia stalled his solid start to the campaign.

This afternoon Pools are at Boreham Wood, looking to close the gap on those at the top of the National League table.

And Harrison admits he is shocked at how close things are heading into mid-November, a period where you traditionally see those at the top and the bottom drift away.

"I've not known anything like this," said Harrison, who turned 40 yesterday.

"If you look this time last year, or the year before, there is always one team who has pulled away.

"It was Lincoln last season and Cheltenham the year before.

"In the immediate past there has not been a situation where there could be one of 10 teams who could be getting promoted, or in the fight to win the league."

There are a number of positives and negatives to this scenario, according to Harrison.

He went on: "It is great for us in one way, after the start we had, but in another sense we want to be at the top of the pack.

"After the Guiseley game we must be in the top two or three form teams in the league.

"What’s important now is making sure we keep that form going, picking up points where we can. We need to stay in the fight for as long as we can and then in the end we will have the chance to make a real run for it.

"The important thing is that we are in and amongst the pack."

After the dreadful start to the season, in which Pools failed to win any of their opening six games in the fifth tier, Harrison knows his side are a little way off where they’d expected to be at this stage of the campaign.

But three wins out of four and all of that will be forgotten.

"The last two months we are where we want to be," said Harrison.

"The first was nowhere near. In that sense we had a lot of catching up to do. And to be fair we have gone and done that.

"We are close to where we expected to be at the start of the season.

"Around 80 points should get you promoted and we have 27 with four games to half way. So, still with that poor start we could get ourselves up to where we need to be at the half way points of the campaign."

*Jake Cassidy could make his Pools first-team return this afternoon at Meadow Park.

The 24-year-old striker has been out of action since Pools 1-0 win at former club Guiseley on August 28.