Hartlepool United are set to welcome back Ryan Donaldson for Monday’s clash with Guiseley.
Matthew Bates knows that, with the National League’s rock-bottom side head to Victoria Park on Monday, a win would see Pools place one foot firmly in the fifth tier next season.
Depending on results elsewhere, it could see them move to within just one win of safety.
And Bates admits that his Easter Monday squad might well be boosted by the return of winger Donaldson, who has been since October, having undergone two ankle operations.
“We hope Ryan could be back Monday,” said the caretaker, whose side are on an unbeaten run of FIVE games going into the final six encounters of the campaign.
“He was touch and go for the last game, but we decided to keep him at home to get another couple of sessions under his belt.
“He is probably only ready to play 20 or 30 minutes.
“It would have been pointless taking him all the way down to Maidstone, so we let him stay to train with the youth team. Hopefully he will be back Monday.”
Meanwhile, Liam Donnelly is touch and go. The defender came back from international duty with Northern Ireland, in which he netted twice against Spain under-21s, with a slight ankle and calf problem.
As a result, he was not risked by Bates in yesterday’s 2-1 win at Maidstone.
Instead Bates is hopeful his star defender will return, although nothing is certain.
He said: “Liam come back from international duty.
“He got a kick on his ankle and we will have to assess it over the weekend.”
Guiseley will head to the Vic following a 3-1 home defeat to Leyton Orient yesterday.
The Yorkshire side held firm in a goalless first half, but the sending-off of keeper Luke Coddington, a minute into the second period, began their downfall.
Jobi McAnuff hit Orient’s opener soon after, then doubled the lead. A Joe Widdowson own goal gave the hosts hope, but David Mooney bagged a clinching third for the Londoners in stoppage time.