John Askey reveals Hartlepool United midfielder in race to be fit for new season after injury blow as Pools draw with Blyth Spartans
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Callum Cooke and Kieran Wallace both missed the fixture at Croft Park as Hartlepool returned to the North East from their training camp in Scotland to take on National League North side Blyth Spartans in a game where both sides cancelled one another out.
Askey fielded almost two separate XI’s in each of the 45 minutes, whilst also tweaking his system, but neither side was able to find their way to goal.
New signing Emmanuel Onariase headed over Hartlepool’s best chance in the opening 45 minutes with Joe Grey and the returning Josh Umerah seeing sight of goal after the break.
Jake Hastie, perhaps, could have done better in the closing stages when turning wide from a low cross whilst Joel Dixon had to be alert to make a fine double save to keep out the home side.
“It went how I thought it was going to go,” said Askey.
“We’ve just come off the back of six days of training hard and you could see that one or two were a little bit leggy.
“Consequently, the pace of the game slowed but it served its purpose again.
“The lads have all got 45 minutes out of it and they came through without any injuries, so it’s all just about the build-up towards the start of the season.
“Blyth played the game in the right spirit, they tried to play and it’s been a good workout for us.”
But whilst Askey avoided any injuries during the 90 minutes at Croft Park, the Hartlepool boss has suffered two setbacks in midfield prior to the goalless draw with Blyth.
Cooke, who did take part in elements of the warm-up, was not involved, with Askey erring on the side of caution, whilst new signing Wallace is set to be a major doubt for Hartlepool’s opening game of the season at Barnet having suffered a broken toe during the club’s recent training camp.
“Callum was just precautionary,” revealed Askey.
“He’s just feeling his hamstring, but he should be ready to go on Tuesday, if not then hopefully on Friday.
“[Kieran] has broken his toe,” he added.
“Things like that happen. The main thing is that we avoid any muscle injuries.
“Contact injuries you can’t avoid, but muscle injuries we’re trying our best to avoid, although we’re working them hard.”