Who can step in to ease Hartlepool United's defensive crisis?

Scott Harrison is sent off at Plymouth Argyle.
Scott Harrison is sent off at Plymouth Argyle.

Scott Harrison's one-game ban has left Hartlepool United boss Craig Hignett with a defensive headache prior to tomorrow night's League Two clash with Luton Town.

Harrison's dismissal in the closing moments of last weekend's 1-1 draw at Plymouth Argyle means Hignett is facing up to the prospect of having three of his four senior, first-choice central defenders unavailable.

Hignett himself admitted his plight after last weekend's encounter.

He said: "We will miss Scotty now, which is a problem with the injuries we have at centre-half."

So just who will Hignett pick to partner Toto Nsiala?

Here we take a look at the options the Pools boss has at his disposal.

Give our Hartlepool United Facebook page a like. The place for all of your Pools news.

Use the versatility of Liam Donnelly

The most likely choice Hignett will opt for is to move Donnelly into the heart of defence.

The 20-year-old has proven in recent weeks just how valuable a member of the squad he can be.

Impressing at left-back until just before the break against Mansfield a week and a half back, injury to Carl Magnay, which will see him sidelined for six months, meant Donnelly was switched to the right-hand side.

As expected, he looked equally at home.

Continuing there against Argyle, Donnelly was again one of the stand outs on what was a very good day for Pools, barring the 10 minutes of madness which ensued as the encounter came to a close.

It now looks like ex-Fulham trainee Donnelly will be asked to do a job in the middle alongside Democratic Republic of Congo internationalist Nsiala.

Take a risk on injured duo

Hignett has been saying for almost a fortnight that he is hopeful of a return for veteran defender Rob Jones.

A hip problem, suffered in the win at Yeovil earlier this month, has kept him out of contention for both the Mansfield and Plymouth games.

He is said to be close to a return but, given his recent injury record, it would be a risk to throw him in, if he is not 100%.

The same goes for Matthew Bates.

The former England youth international has been out of action since the end of August with bone bruising on his foot.

While Bates' injury is not thought to be serious, Hignett has been on the record saying he needs the former Middlesbrough man to tread carefully.

Hignett confirmed that every time Bates attempts to step up his recovery, pain remains.

So all of that said, it would be an even bigger risk to throw in Bates, who has done little training of late.

Turn to the reserves

The gaffer could, of course, decide to promote one of the kids from his second string.

Looking at their last game, though, it's hard to see where the knight in shining armour Pools desire is coming from.

In their last encounter Hartlepool Reserves fielded Ben Pollock and Harry Wise at centre-back.

Wise, formerly of QPR, is currently only on trial at the Northern Gas & Power Stadium.

While, teenager Pollock, a summer signing from Newcastle United, is also just finding his feet at the club.