PAUL Murray is aiming to get the best out of Hartlepool United winger Jack Compton when he returns from a knee injury – a month ahead of schedule.a
The 26-year-old was expected to be out of action until January after undergoing surgery.
But he has made good progress in his rehabilitation and Murray expects to have him back in his matchday squad in time for the festive fixtures.
Compton has struggled for consistency since arriving at Victoria Park last summer, when former boss Colin Cooper made him his first signing.
But Murray is confident he can get the pacy ex-Bradford and Falkirk wingman firing on all cylinders.
“Jack Compton is making good progress,” Murray said.
“I’m hoping to have him back in early December.
“He will be a good player to come back and hopefully I can get the best out of him.”
Compton has been missing from the first-team picture since hobbling off just before half-time in the League Two match with Portsmouth at Victoria Park in September.
Scans on his injured knee showed a tear to the lateral meniscus and he needed surgery to repair the problem, which was originally expected to keep him out until the New Year.
Compton has been working closely with physio Ian Gallagher.
“Jack has come in every day, got his head down, followed his programmes and even done extra work in his own time,” said Gallagher.
“He’s met all of our targets in terms of upper-body strength and next week we’re going to be able to get access to a state-of-the-art underwater treadmill at Teesside University to further accelerate his progress.
“He’s shown a great attitude to his work and is really eager to return to fitness and get back out on the pitch and start helping the team.”
In a further boost, Tommy Miller (calf) could be back for the trip to Southend on Saturday, while Matthew Bates is back in training after a calf injury and was on the bench against East Thurrock.
But defender Stuart Parnaby remains out with knee trouble.
One player no longer part of the squad is Hartlepool-born winger Ryan Brobbel, who returned to his parent club Middlesbrough after the Newport County draw.
Murray said: “Other people have brought the loan players in and I have to decide what is best for the club.
“With Sidney (Schmeltz), young Connor Smith and Jon Franks, I feel I have players here who can fulfil that wide role. I thank Ryan for his services, which I did after the match against Newport.”