Marcus Carver in line for Hartlepool United debut as Graeme Lee's side face Bristol Rovers

Marcus Carver is in contention for his Hartlepool United debut this afternoon as Graeme Lee’s side face Bristol Rovers.

Saturday, 15th January 2022, 7:00 am

Pools return to the city of the most successful moment in their recent history today, seven months on from that fabled day against Torquay United

A lot has changed for Pools since they won promotion from the National League, including a number of those who featured on the field and in the dugout.

And in Carver there is another change, with the 28-year-old set for his first appearance having arrived from Southport this week.

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Marcus Carver could make his Hartlepool United debut at Bristol Rovers. MI News & Sport Ltd

Carver has been in fine form in the National League North this season, earning him significant interest from the Football League.

But it was Pools who were able to secure his signature and Lee has been impressed with what he has seen from the striker in training heading into today’s game.

“The first training session was Tuesday and he’s come in and you can see the attitude straight away is good,” said Lee.

“He’s mixed with the lads, he likes to get to know people, he trains hard, he trains with an intensity.

“He’s not coming from full time football so his match fitness will be one of our main areas in terms of what we need to do to get him up to speed with where our lads are, but straight away you can see how he wants to work and how he wants to play.”

And Lee added why he was so keen to bring in Carver this month.

“I spoke to Southport manager Liam Watson many times, his judgement on players and what he’s brought through over the years has been fantastic.

“We’ve watched him and seen what he’s all about. He can lead the line, he’s an honest lad, he works his socks off for the team and he’s scoring goals so he’s somebody we wanted to get in and get done and we’re delighted.”

Should Carver be handed a first appearance it will complete a unique full circle for the 28-year-old who made his Football League debut for Accrington Stanley at the Memorial Stadium almost 10 years ago.

But for Pools, today’s meeting with Joey Barton’s side is about more than handing out debuts and rejoicing in past glories.

Pools have won just one of their last nine league games and head into a run of fixtures against sides below them in the table knowing they need to start putting points on the board before their league status falls into jeopardy.

And having been an interested spectator from the comfort of his own home on that day seven months ago, Lee is not about to see Pools fall back on everything they have worked so hard for.

“It’s everything [that the club is back competing in the Football League]. I can remember sitting watching the final at home with my little lad and jumping around as though I was at the game,” said Lee.

“It’s where they belong, it’s where they’ve been [since I’ve been here].

“I left school and I went and joined Hartlepool and they were in the Football League and that is what the fans and the support we’ve got deserve.

“They deserve to be in the Football League. It’s our job now to make sure we push on.”

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