Hartlepool United v Bristol Rovers: Ronnie Moore faces difficult decisions

Scott Fenwick heads in his third goal of the season at Yeovil Town
Scott Fenwick heads in his third goal of the season at Yeovil Town

Difficult decisions are often what managers always claim they want.

And Ronnie Moore has two big selection posers ahead of Hartlepool United’s League Two match against Bristol Rovers.

It will be tough against Bristol Rovers and Luton are just starting to play a bit


Both Carl Magnay and Rakish Bingham look like being available for tonight’s arrival of the Pirates at Victoria Park (kick-off 7.45pm).

That leaves Moore with two tough choices.

Bingham missed out on Saturday’s 2-1 win at Yeovil as Pools ended a four-match sequence in League Two without a victory.

In his absence, Scott Fenwick found the back of the net with the 32nd-minute “whodunnit?” goal.

Bingham, who was left out to rest a hamstring niggle, had been an ever-present in the opening 10 matches of the programme.

While he had not scored since the opening Saturday of the programme, he had performed brightly up front, where his pace has caused problems for opposition defenders.

Fenwick, who has now netted three times, may get the nod tonight as Pools look to kick on from Saturday’s success at Huish Park.

With Rhys Oates looking so lively on the other side of skipper Billy Paynter, Bingham may have to be content with a substitute spot.

Moore also has a quandary over the make up of the midfield.

Brad Walker will start in place of Michael Woods who will sit out this evening’s match after picking up a one-match ban following his fifth booking.

But Moore has a choice to make in the holding midfield role.

Magnay has completed a three-march suspension following his red card in the defeat at Wycombe.

Given his brilliant early-season form in the midfield triumvirate with Woods and Nicky Featherstone, Magnay had the look of a man who would be an automatic selection.

But, and it’s a big but, Matthew Bates has taken that slot and has staked his claim to keep the jersey.

Bates was excellent at Yeovil, just as he was at Exeter and against Cambridge, three matches in which Pools seem to have turned a corner.

Testing choices for Moore, but whatever XI he sends out, there is one priority, carry on from where they left off against Yeovil.

The manager admitted Pools were perhaps fortunate to bring home the three points from Somerset.

But now they have a chance to build on that.

“We need to play better football,” said Moore.

“But we’ve played decent football at times this season and not got anything.

“On Saturday, we’ve not played well but got three points. I will take that all day long.

“It’s nice to grind out a result.”

Pools moved up to 11th as a result of Saturday’s win and Moore will want Pools to cement their place in the top half of the league.

They have back-to-back fixtures so they have a good chance to dom it, albeit the second match is against Luton Town, Moore’s favourites for the the title.

“It’s nice to have the win to set us up for two home games,” he said.

“It’s important we don’t waste this.

“It will be tough against Bristol Rovers and Luton are just starting to play a bit, it wouldn’t surprise me if they win this league.

“Bristol Rovers are a good side. They’ve lost 2-1 on Saturday but they were playing Portsmouth.

“I’ve said before it’s as easy to win five games as it is to lose them.

“You can get on a roll, and we need to, but there are two very hard games coming up.

“If we can get six points from these two games I think we’ll have done well.”