Hartlepool Utd pair fit for trip to Doncaster Rovers

John Hughes in the dugout against Leyton Orient. Picture by FRANK REID
John Hughes in the dugout against Leyton Orient. Picture by FRANK REID

HARTLEPOOL United pair Simon Walton and Evan Horwood are set to beat injury to start at Doncaster Rovers tomorrow (kick-off 3pm).

There had been fears that the duo would miss the trip to the Keepmoat Stadium, home of the League One leaders.

Walton was forced off in the first half of Tuesday’s 3-0 win over Crewe Alexandra with an apparent calf problem, while Horwood suffered a similar problem late in the game.

However, manager John Hughes says they are both in contention for the weekend, admitting the problems were not as severe as first thought.

“We are hopeful that Simon will be okay,” he explained.

“It’s his back which is the problem which has meant the nerve coming down through his hamstring and quad area.

“We thought it was worse but he’s definitely got a chance now.

“Evan will be okay as well, which is good news, he’s been brilliant recently.

“So it looks like we will be the same again.”

Hughes’ squad reconvened at Maiden Castle this morning having been given two days at home following the midweek win.

The first-team coach believes such reward is key, not only as a means of building trust between himself and his players, but also in maintaining excitement and hunger ahead of match-days.

“You have to get excited no matter what your age – excitement is a great tool to have in football,” he said.

“Giving them days off is all part of keeping that excitement and freshness alive.

“The games are coming so fast they’re just ticking over at the moment.

“But it’s important that we do everything for the right reasons.

“If they do it properly, rest and eat the right things, then I’ll reward them.

“It’s a two-way thing but our boys know that and it’s showing on the pitch.

“I’m giving them that extra incentive and they’re responding to it.”

Pools, then, look certain to be unchanged for the eighth consecutive game against Rovers.

POOLS (probable): Flinders; Austin, Hartley, Collins, Horwood; Baldwin, Walton, Humphreys; Poole, Franks, Wyke. Subs: McHugh, James, Howard, Rutherford, Holden, Monkhouse, Luscombe.