MARLON Harewood and Andy Monkhouse are both back in training – but they will only come back in to League Two reckoning when they are ready.
The 30-somethings have been sorely missed by Hartlepool United, who have not won in their absence.
Monkhouse has missed the last four games after suffering a hamstring injury in the 4-0 rout of Bristol Rovers last month.
Harewood damaged his ankle in the home defeat to Mansfield Town and has missed the back-to-back single goal losses to Cheltenham Town and Portsmouth.
Boss Colin Cooper told SportMail it would be a “boost” if either - or both - came into contention for the big game against Chesterfield at Victoria Park this Saturday.
But he re-iterated his view that players will only be considered if they are 100 per cent fit.
Monkhouse, 32, and Harewood, 34, have both been put through their paces by physio Ian Gallagher.
Three-goal Harewood has been an excellent partner for top scorer Luke James up front, while Monkhouse has been a contributor at both ends, effective in the final third while winning a number of headers in his own box when Pools defend set-pieces.
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“Marlon and Monks have been working together this week with Buster [Gallagher],” Cooper explained.
“I’ve watched them and they’ve had good work-outs.
“They’ll keep working and I’ll look to assess how they have reacted to the training.
“If there is a chance I can get one or two back into the group for training tomorrow and Friday then that will be a boost.
“But if they are not ready then there’s not an awful lot we can do about it.
“If they are still a bit short, then they will keep working and hopefully we’ll have them ready for Burton the Saturday after.”
Meanwhile, Pools Reserves are in Central League action tonight against Mansfield Town at Bedford Terrace.