Has Niko Muir's loan departure and Luke James' injury left Hartlepool United short up front? Dave Challinor addresses the situation

With in-form forward Luke James set for a spell on the sidelines and Niko Muir departing on loan, Hartlepool United are left with just two recognised strikers going into a busy festive period.

Thursday, 12th December 2019, 5:00 pm
Updated Thursday, 12th December 2019, 5:00 pm
Niko Muir of Hartlepool United in action  during the Vanarama National League match between Chesterfield and Hartlepool United at the Proact stadium, Chesterfield on Tuesday 26th November 2019. (Credit: Mark Fletcher | MI News)
Niko Muir of Hartlepool United in action during the Vanarama National League match between Chesterfield and Hartlepool United at the Proact stadium, Chesterfield on Tuesday 26th November 2019. (Credit: Mark Fletcher | MI News)

Pools were dealt a blow when James was forced off with a groin injury during Tuesday night’s FA Cup victory over Exeter City.

Scans have revealed that the player will face a spell on the sidelines over the coming weeks.

But that news didn’t stop the club loaning out fellow forward Muir to National League South side Hemel Hempstead Town for a month, leaving just Nicke Kabamba and Gime Toure as the only senior strikers currently on the books.

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Luke James picked up a groin injury during Tuesday night's FA Cup win over Exeter City.

And Dave Challinor admitted that the situation has left him short of striking options.

“Yeah we’re a little bit short I suppose,” he said.

“We’ll have to look at that and react from it. The Niko one, timing is everything which is why we left it an extra week because of the Exeter replay but it was agreed before that.

“He needs some guaranteed football at the minute to get back to where he was at the start of the season before his little injury to get him firing.

“And in the short term if we need to look at something then potentially we will look to do that.

“If it will improve us and improve us drastically then I’m more than happy to go with that and look probably for a wide player and go with Nicke and Gime as the two main ones who can do jobs upfront.”

Pools face Harrogate Town in the FA Trophy on Saturday with Challinor keen to use the match as an opportunity to take a closer look at some of the squad’s bit part players.

Recent loan signings Tyler Hamilton and Mark Shelton are expected to be involved at the CNG Stadium as Challinor added: “It will be an opportunity for some lads to get games.

“Tyler’s obviously come in so I’m expecting him to play a bigger part in the game but it’s a game that we intend to go there and put in another good performance.”