Matthew Bates provides injury update on Andrew Davies while hinting at return date for Hartlepool midfielder Luke Williams

Andrew Davies.
Andrew Davies.

Hartlepool United boss Matthew Bates is hopeful that skipper Andrew Davies will be fit to face Dover Athletic tomorrow.

The Pools captain limped out of the 4-3 FA Cup loss to Gillingham at the Super 6 Stadium in midweek with an ankle problem.

And the 34-year-old looked a serious doubt to be missing again at the Crabble on Saturday.

But Bates has not ruled out having his experienced centre-half in his back four on the south coast.

“It is not a long-term thing - it is an injury that he has had for years,” explained Bates.

“He knows how to treat it, manage it. It is the type of thing that comes and goes.

“He had not trained for 10 days when he played on Wednesday. But you can see what he gave us when he was on the pitch.

“He knows his own body and he knows when the pain goes too far. He felt that on Wednesday and hopefully he will be fine for Dover.”

Bates says that kind of attitude is exactly why he brought the former Middlesbrough, Bradford City and Ross County man to the Vic in the summer.

“I have know Andrew for a lot of years - it is just why we brought him here,” said Bates.

“He is an honest lad, as brave as they come.

“He wants to help the club, the team and me as a manager. He has done everything he can for the side.”

“I have said it from day one since we signed him that I think Andrew is the best defender in the league.

“When he has played he has shown he is not far off that.

“Missing him from our team is massive for us. You can see that with the goals we have conceded.

“It is good to have him back as I cannot lie - when he is out we miss him.

“Fingers crossed he is back for Dover.”

Should Davies miss out it is likely Peter Kioso or Myles Anderson will come back into the side, with both being benched for the Gills clash on Wednesday.

Apart from Davies, Bates does not have any other injury worries with only Luke Williams absent long term.

Light could be at the end of the tunnel, finally, on that front, though.

Bates has hinted we could well see Williams in action before 2018 is out.

“There has not been any other setback. He is where he is expected to be according to the physio,” said the manager re Williams, who has had a double knee operation.

“I said four to six weeks when it happened and we hope to have him back before the end of the year.

“He is trying to get the bend back in the joint, which can be a slow process.

“But we do hope he can come back into the squad before 2019.”