Colin Cooper expects to learn this afternoon what changes to his in-form Hartlepool United team will be required for tomorrow night’s trip to Bury.
Pool recorded a comfortable 2-0 win over League Two’s bottom club Northampton on Saturday to close the gap to the play-off zone to just three points.
Extending a positive run to just two defeats from eight league games arrived at a cost against the division’s dirtiest team, and more than one change is expected at Gigg Lane tomorrow night.
The impressive James Poole, who earned the penalty which Simon Walton put away to add to Luke James’ first half strike, is nursing cuts and bruising, while winger Jack Compton has stud marks on his ankle and skipper Neil Austin has a foot problem.
To add to those concerns, Cooper knows he will be without the suspended Andy Monkhouse and it remains uncertain whether Middlesbrough will grant a request to extend the loan of Matty Dolan.
The selection problems he faces spoiled another impressive outing from Hartlepool, who are full of confidence heading towards December.
“We’ll make a final decision on Tuesday on the team,” said Hartlepool boss Cooper. “I like to do my preparation the day before the game, but I might have to wait until Tuesday because of the injuries. We will decide if we need to freshen it up.
“If somebody is particularly sore and can’t play, then that will be another chance or two on top of Andy’s suspension for players. Matty will train Monday with us while we are in negotiation.”
After Northampton had gone close in the opening few minutes when Jacob Blyth’s header bounced off the post and dropped in to goalkeeper Scott Flinders’ hands, Hartlepool took command.
It was Dolan who was the architect of the opening goal in the 23rd minute. His pass was controlled by James before the striker slotted precisely beyond Matt Duke.
That was his tenth of the season and the Amble-born teenager expects his father, Ian, to set him a new target. The 19-year-old said: “I had a secret aim before Christmas to get ten. I might have to revise that now.”
Cooper suggested James should look to double his tally – and if he is successful then Hartlepool should be right in the promotion mix. Three minutes after half-time Walton extended the advantage from the spot after he was bundled over in the box by Mathias Kouo-Doumbe. Walton converted.