Liam Noble update as Hartlepool United are boosted by return of fellow midfielder

Liam Noble.
Liam Noble.

Liam Noble is expected to be brought back in from the cold by Matthew Bates and named in the Hartlepool United squad.

The midfielder was removed from the Pools matchday 16 on Saturday for the Dover Athletic defeat in a move that caused a stir among the club’s fans.

It also proved controversial with the player, who made his anger clear not only to Bates, but also club directors and the gathered press.

But Bates and Noble appear to have made their peace and the Mail understands the player is expected to make a Pools return against AFC Fylde this evening.

Whether Noble comes straight back into the starting XI, or is given the armband remains to be seen.

Noble was dropped after an altercation on the team bus on the evening before the club’s 2-1 defeat on the south coast.

Meanwhile, Bates is set to be boosted by the return of midfielder Conor Newton.

Newton comes back into the first-team fold having been out of the squad for the Dover Athletic defeat at the weekend with an illness.

The timely return of the former Newcastle United kid gives Bates another option in an area where he has issues at present.

Down at the Crabble, Bates was forced to field Ryan Donaldson in a more central role. And while the winger was Pools’ stand out man, it is not his natural position. Paddy McLaughlin and Nicky Featherstone partnered the wideman on Saturday.

Josh Hawkes did his cause no harm with a fine solo goal on the south coast, and comes into Bates’ thinking particularly if he sticks with the three man central midfield.

He is, however, expected to return to the squad.

Elsewhere on the injury front Bates will have to do without Andrew Davies, who will have to sit out four weeks with a calf problem.

“It is a big blow,” said the manager on Davies’ injury.

“We got him scanned on Thursday and it was bad news.

“We didn’t expect it - we thought it was a neuro problem but it turned out to be a calf strain.”