NEIL Austin will be fit to face Scunthorpe United on Saturday, writes CRAIG HOPE.
The defender had been targeting a second successive campaign in which he appeared in every minute of every game, but that bid was cut short after just two matches.
Austin picked up a calf problem in the goalless draw with Swindon Town earlier this month and missed the subsequent 2-0 defeat at Notts County.
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But, with Pools having seen their weekend fixture at Leyton Orient postponed because of traffic congestion, the extended break has allowed Austin to make a full recovery.
Boss Neale Cooper explained: “Neil would have been okay for Leyton Orient but the extra week will hopefully mean he’s 100 per cent.
“It was just a minor calf thing and he’ll be fine for Scunthorpe.”
He went on: “Peter Hartley also had a minor problem but he’ll be okay as well.”
Cooper had been set to hand Paul Murray a recall to the side for the East London clash.
The veteran midfielder would most likely have started in a midfield three alongside Simon Walton and Tony Sweeney, with Jon Franks and Andy Monkhouse supporting Steve Howard in attack.
Cooper could name that team for the visit of The Iron this weekend, although both Luke James and James Poole will also be vying for a start.
Alan Knill’s men are propping up League One having lost their opening three matches, the latest reverse a 4-0 home drubbing at the hands of leaders Yeovil Town on Saturday.