Graeme Lee raises fitness concern with new signing Marcus Carver as Hartlepool United host Stevenage at the Suit Direct Stadium

It was a different kind of hangover for Hartlepool United on their return from Bristol this time.

By Joe Ramage
Saturday, 22nd January 2022, 7:00 am

Pools were dealt a cruel blow at the Memorial Stadium seven days ago when they conceded twice in the closing stages to lose a game in which their performance deserved much more from.

Graeme Lee’s side dominated for large spells creating a number of opportunities before being punished late in the game.

Lee believes the impact of that result against Bristol might have played a part in a more conservative approach on Tuesday as Pools drew 0-0 with Carlisle United at Brunton Park but the 43-year-old knows his side must look to get back to winning ways against Stevenage this afternoon.

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Marcus Carver is a doubt for Hartlepool United as they host Stevenage at the Suit Direct Stadium. (Credit: Will Matthews | MI News)

“Every game, especially home games, you want to be winning,” Lee told The Mail.

“We need to be winning some games in the league, everyone knows that. It’s a fact.

“I won’t be putting any pressure on the players in terms of making it more than what it is, but it’s a home game and a game we need to win.

“We’ve had good chats regarding what we want to do going forward and what we lacked on Tuesday night and what we had on Saturday.

Jamie Sterry remains suspended for Hartlepool United after seeing red in last week's defeat at Bristol Rovers. Picture by FRANK REID

“But we didn’t get the result on Saturday and that probably affected us.

“I know how I felt after Saturday's performance. I didn’t get that out of my head probably until Monday morning once we got back on the training field and we started working again.

“So it’s learning from those disappointments and not letting them affect us.

“The positive on Tuesday night was the clean sheet and we’ve got to build on that. We’ve got to be firing on all cylinders on Saturday.”

Pools will still be without Jamie Sterry who serves the second, and final, game of his suspension following last week’s red card and may also be without new signing Marcus Carver after Lee revealed the 28-year-old has a muscle injury.

Carver was handed his debut against Rovers last weekend and showed some encouraging signs for Pools supporters.

Lee kept faith in his new man on Tuesday at Carlisle but Carver wasn’t able to reach the same levels with Lee citing his move from part-time into full-time football as the reason.

“I felt he looked a little bit fatigued. He just looked as though he lost a little bit of spark.

“We knew he was a little bit tight, I’d just hoped he had recovered a little bit more so he could have another crack at it.

“We’ve had a chat with him. Marcus needs to understand his body and where he is,” said Lee.

“He feels fine in himself but we just had a chat because he looked a little bit jaded from the game at the weekend.

“I thought his impact at Bristol Rovers was good, he just lacked that bit of sharpness in midweek but it was a frustrating game for both forwards.

“We moved the ball around the back a lot but didn’t really utilise the attacking threats or the movements they were doing.

“He’s got a little niggle at the moment so we’re touch and go whether he’s going to be fit and that probably highlights what we’ve spoken to him about with the fatigue and his body.”

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