A virus has decimated Hartlepool United’s squad ahead of the visit of Maidenhead United.
But manager Craig Harrison is hopeful that one or two who have been unable to train this week will be fit to make his matchday 16 at the Vic tomorrow.
Harrison had just 12 players to call upon at training yesterday, two or whom were goalkeepers Scott Loach and Ryan Catterick.
At its lowest point, Pools had just eight outfield players fit to train, with the virus ripping through the heart of Harrison’s first-team plans.
But as the week has wore on, so too have the prospects of one or two of those swept up in the outbreak.
And the gaffer is positive on the prospects of being able to field a strong starting XI this weekend.
“I am never one to make excuses, especially when it comes to injuries, but this week it’s been tough,” said Harrison. “We have had a bug which has hit the squad. That’s meant a few of the players have been unable to train.
“When you add that to the list of injuries we have had, it’s hardly been ideal.
“But we hope that one or two players will be OK to play. And I am also hopeful that one or two of the lads who have been injured will be closer to getting out on the pitch.”
On the fitness front, Sunderland loanee Michael Ledger, who missed the FA Trophy tie at Workington with a back problem, could feature.
Striker James Thorne is also in contention.
Nicky Featherstone, Carl Magnay, Ryan Donaldson, Aaron Cunningham and Keith Watson remain sidelined.
Lewis Hawkins will miss out through suspension.
Meanwhile, Pam Duxbury has called on fans to get behind the club and turn out in force for tomorrow’s game.
Pools are back in action at the Vic as they look to start the festive period with three points, before a double header against Gateshead and a trip to Chester.
It’s a vital period for the club, both on and off the pitch, particularly given the announcement that the club is seeking new owners and investment after some difficult financial times.
Duxbury is calling on everyone at the club to pull together – starting from 3pm tomorrow.
She said: “I know fans are frustrated and some things and issues going on in the background have hampered performances and results. We aren’t hiding from that. But we want everyone to come together.
“The Christmas programme is massive and now we all want everyone to pull together to help us.
“What I hear from players and people around the club, the facilities we’ve got are great.
“It’s trying to attract the players who want to come – we’re in the National League but we still look like a Football League club.”