Ronnie Moore’s right-back quandary for Hartlepool United’s “massive” League Two showdown with Plymouth Argyle

Scott Harrison in action against Salford City
Scott Harrison in action against Salford City

Ronnie Moore faces another right-back quandary for Hartlepool United’s “massive” League Two showdown with Plymouth Argyle.

Pools will be without the luckless Michael Duckworth, who hurt his groin in training, an injury which ruled him out of Tuesday night’s FA Cup replay against Salford City.

The right-back spot is a problem area

Ronnie Moore

Worse was to follow for Pools and Moore when Carl Magnay, who deputised for Duckworth in the number two spot, came off late in the 2-0 win, also suffering from groin trouble.

The skipper is a major doubt for the visit of the Pilgrims and even if head physio Ian Gallagher can get the 26-year-old fit, there is every chance Moore would want him in midfield.

Magnay was a huge miss in the middle of the park where Salford ran the play until Pools took control in extra-time.

“The right-back spot is a problem area,” admitted Moore.

“It’s awful at the moment - Ducky is out with his groin and Maggers had to come off on Tuesday.

“We’ll have to see [tomorrow] how he is.”

Moore, despite seeing Scott Harrison tortured at Mansfield last month, decided to bring on the central defender at right-back against the non-leaguers.

Harrison was skinned straight away by Richie Allen, but after that he defended superbly.

The 22-year-old not only won his tackles but made a lot of defensive headers and was positive coming out, just what Pools needed after being on the back foot for extended periods in the tie.

Moore had Jordan Richards on the bench, a right-back by trade, but opted for the physical presence of Harrison.

“We saw Scotty there at Mansfield and that frightened me a bit [bringing him on],” said the manager.

“But we used him with the height Salford had and the amount of players they had pushed up I just thought he was a better bet than Jordy.

“Salford threw the kitchen sink at us and he has made one or two really crucial headers for us on that back post.”

Richards though could still get the mod against Plymouth on Saturday, providing Moore thinks he is fit enough to start.

The 22-year-old has only just returned from back trouble and may be is not quite yet back up to the pace of League Two.

It’s a tough call for Moore, especially given Harrison’s troubles at Mansfield against Nathan Thomas.

“His performance on Tuesday night has given me food for thought,” explained Moore. “But I need to think hard about it because Plymouth’s widemen are decent.”