Wrexham-Hartlepool United team news: Rhys Oates set for first start

Rhys Oates.
Rhys Oates.

Rhys Oates is braced for his first Hartlepool United start of the season at Wrexham tonight (kick-off 7.45pm).

The 22-year-old is on stand-by to take the central striker’s role after teenager Conor Simpson took a knock during Saturday’s 1-0 victory over Dagenham & Redbridge at Victoria park.

Oates has impressed as a vibrant second-half sub in the back-to-back home wins an boss Craig Harrison will not hesitate in selecting the former Barnsley forward.

Having come off the bench on the opening day of the season against Dover, he was then sidelined for the next six games with a groin problem.

Oates is now fully fit and flying, proving a handful for the Daggers on Saturday, when he set up a good chance for Michael Woods, which the midfielder put wide.

Harrison will hope to have Simpson fit, given the youngster has not put a foot, or head wrong in his two starts, but Oates could be preferred for a tough examination at in-form Wrexham.

So too could Ryan Donaldson on the right side of the frontline in place of Devante Rodney.

The teenager started the win over Dagenham but looked a bit out of sorts and also came off for the third match in a row just after the hour mark, so Harrison may opt to give him a breather after a hectic run of games .

Injured defenders, Blair Adams (groin), Scott Harrison (foot) and Louis Laing (hamstring) are all moving closer to a return to action, but the manager’s only alterations are likely to come up top.

Wrexham face one enforced change after left-back James Jennings picked up his fifth booking of the season in Saturday’s 0-0 draw at Torquay United.

Right-back James Hurst is a doubt after being forced off in the first half at Plainmoor.

The Dragons have been boosted by the return to fitness of Chris Holroyd after the striker dislocated a shoulder on the first day of the season.

Boss Dean Yeates will also have winger Jack Mackreth back in contention tonight, as well as midfielder Marcus Kelly.

Wrexham will include Christian Dibble between the sticks.

The 23-year-old is the son of former Pools and Wrexham goalkeeper, Andy.