TEAM NEWS: Hartlepool United v Bristol Rovers in Sky Bet League Two

Luke James in action against Torquay United. Picture by FRANK REID
Luke James in action against Torquay United. Picture by FRANK REID

EXPERIENCED striker Marlon Harewood returns to the starting XI for this afternoon’s Sky Bet League Two match between Hartlepool United and Bristol Rovers at Victoria Park.

The 34-year-old returns in place of forward Jonathan Franks, who had started in Tuesday night’s goalless draw at Accrington Stanley.

Manager Colin Cooper keeps faith with the same back-four and midfield that played at Accrington though, with on-loan Manchester United forward Jack Barmby again given the chance to shine behind the front two of Harewood and Luke James.

Pools start the day in 10th place, five points off the play-off places, while opponents Bristol Rovers - who have former Pools midfielder Darrell Clarke as their assistant manager - are 16th in the league.

Last time at the Vic, Pools won 3-0 against Torquay United before the 2-1 defeat at Wycombe Wanderers last Saturday.

Cooper will be hoping for three more points to kick-start the late push towards the top seven.

Pools (4-4-2): Flinders, Richards, Collins (C), Burgess, Holden, Walton, Walker, Monkhouse, Barmby, James, Harewood.

Subs: Rafferty (gk), Rowbotham, Hawkins, Sweeney, Compton, Franks, Poole.

Bristol Rovers (4-5-1): Mildenhall, Smith, Woodards, Parkes, Clarkson, Harrold, Brown, Clucas, McChrystal, O’Toole, Mohamed.

Subs: Gough (gk) Gillespie, Harrison, Beardsley, Clarke, Lockyer, Santos.

Referee: Seb Stockbridge (Tyne & Wear)