Hartlepool United will miss Michael Duckworth but Craig Hignett knows what he can do

Michael Duckworth in action for Hartlepool United against Sheffield United. Picture by FRANK REID
Michael Duckworth in action for Hartlepool United against Sheffield United. Picture by FRANK REID

Michael Duckworth will not be a forgotten man at Hartlepool United.

Craig Hignett has a large and almost fully fit squad at his disposal for the remaining 17 matches of the season.

Me and Colin Cooper brought him here a few years back and I know what he’s got.

Craig Hignett

And the new boss has been pleased at how all the players have looked to impress him on the training grounds of Maiden Castle.

The only exception is Michael Duckworth, who has been out for 10 weeks and will be out for at least four more after undergoing a hernia operation last week.

The luckless defender has hasn’t featured since the 4-0 defeat at Portsmouth on December 12.

“I know Ducky and what he can do,” Hignett told SportMail.

“Me and Colin Cooper brought him here a few years back and I know what he’s got.

“I’d love him to be back.”

With eight matches in April, there is every chance Hignett will have his wish with the right-back still likely to have a big role to play in the club’s safety fight.

Duckworth had been troubled by a stomach muscle trouble and it had been hoped rest would help him recover from the problem.

Pools had allowed mother nature to assist in the recovery of another right-back, Jordan Richards, who had a back injury.

It worked for Richards, but for Duckworth after two scans and three visits to consultants, the decision was taken to undergo surgery.

“Michael has been struggling with two injuries really – an abdominal strain and a hernia,” head physio Ian Gallagher told www.hartlepoolunited.co.uk.

“The specialist’s advice was to allow both problems to settle down.

“But unfortunately the hernia hasn’t improved as much we would have liked so the last resort is to have the operation.

“Michael has been doing rehab work for the last six weeks so we’re hoping that his recovery time post-surgery will be much quicker.

“But we’re still looking at around four weeks until he can get back in to full training.”

There is more promising news on Harry Worley.

The central defender, one of Ronnie Moore’s big summer signings, has only played five times this season.

But the 27-year-old has recovered from surgery to repair ankle ligament trouble and is back on the fields of Maiden Castle.

Worley has been in training for two weeks now and will probably come back in the reserve-team fixture at Grimsby a fortnight tomorrow.