Woods back for Pools, Fenwick set to start?

Michael Woods
Michael Woods

Michael Woods looks set for a return to the Hartlepool United squad – providing Ian Gallagher passes him fit.

The head physio has worked closely with the midfielder throughout the year on his fitness and boss Ronnie Moore said he will be governed by his say-so.

Woods, who has missed the last three matches with a dead leg, came through the mid-week 4-0 reserve win over Scunthorpe United with no ill-effects.

Scott Fenwick also featured in the win over the Iron at Bedford Terrace and Woods will probably come into the squad with Fenwick likely to start.

“Woodsy did well,” said Moore. “He came through it all right.

“We told to him get himself fit so he was not going to get fit by sitting in midfield.

“It meant he made some silly runs to get himself moving and you have to do that if you want to get match-fit.

“If you sit in at reserve-team level, you are never going to get fit, so he had to get about and make long runs, short runs.

“But he came through it well and we’re pleased with him.

“There is a chance he could be involved but I will take what Buster [Gallagher] says more than anything on that front.

“What my eyes have seen is that if I need to bring him on or I need him to start, he looked OK.”

Pools will be without Kal Naismith who is not allowed to play against his parent club, but other than long-term injury victim, Billy Paynter, Moore has a full squad to select from.

Moore is unlikely to alter his defence or his midfield trio, with any changes likely to come up front.

The manager started with Mikael Mandron, Fenwick and Rhys Oates at Salford City last Friday in the FA Cup.

Oates had a stormer, but Fenwick looked isolated until he took a more central role after the ineffective Mandron was withdrawn.

Moore could use Fenwick through the middle and flank him with Oates and Rakish Bingham.

Fenwick has been in and out of the starting XI over the last four games and the Pools chief put the Geordie in the reserve side in a bid to sharpen his fitness.

The 25-year-old scored once and set up the opening two goals on the afternoon for Jordan Jewson.

“I’m not sure at this moment in time on his fitness levels, he needs to do more,” said the Pools chief.

“I don’t know whether it’s because he’s bulked up a little bit on the weights.

“Once you do that your [aerobic] fitness levels have to improve as well, that was the reason we gave him an hour for the reserves.

“He got a goal in that hour and we were pleased but basically it was about trying to get his fitness levels right.”

Moore explained that a change or two is inevitable though he is likely to stick with a 4-3-3 formation.

“Naismith can’t play, which is big blow because he’s quality,” he said.

“We missed that at Salford and we’ll miss him on Tuesday in the replay so it’s down to me who comes in and who comes out.

“There will be one or two positional changes yes, but whether the shape changes is a different thing.

“But one or two of the players who played on Friday may not play.

“It’s the way it is, if you are playing well you stay in the side, but if you are not, then a change may be needed.”

Pools (probable) Carson, Duckworth, Jackson, Bates, Carroll, Featherstone, Gray, Magnay, Oates, Fenwick, Bingham.

Subs (from): Bartlett, Jones, Harrison, Nearney, Woods, Walker, Mandron, Smith