Craig Hignett is hanging on to the slim hope that Rob Jones will be fit to come to Hartlepool United’s defensive aid.
But Matthew Bates’ expected return has been dashed, with the centre-back yet to return to full training with the rest of the first-team squad.
Rob has trained with us so he is slightly closer. We will wait and seeCraig Hignett
Jones is edging closer to a place in the Pools side, having taken part in the full contact sessions with the squad this week.
Although, he is still rated as doubtful by Hignett, who is loath to rush the 36-year-old back at Barnet, given that he has missed more than a month of action.
The veteran could be used in the reserve game with Newcastle this afternoon, then assessed post-match.
Hopes had been high Bates would be fit enough to return at The Hive. But the former Middlesbrough man is unlikely to be risked.
“They are training. Both have missed a lot of football but they are back,” he said.
“Rob has trained with us so he is slightly closer. We will wait and see.”
Jones’ Pools debut came in a memorable win at Barnet last year, that sparked a seven-game unbeaten run.
“We have good memories. We played well there,” said Hignett.
“It set us on the little run where we went seven on the bounce. Sometimes in football you have grounds where you do well. Hopefully Barnet is that for us. It will be a different game to what we’re used to. They’ve got a certain way the play.”