Boss Jones hopes Donnelly and Oates will be back to bolster Pools side at Blackpool

Pools' Lewis Hawkins (right) battles against Dominic Gape. Picture by Tom Banks
Pools' Lewis Hawkins (right) battles against Dominic Gape. Picture by Tom Banks
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Dave Jones is confident absent stars Liam Donnelly and Rhys Oates will be fit to return for Hartlepool United’s trip to in-form Blackpool this weekend.

Donnelly (dead leg) and Oates (thigh) were both missed by Pools on Saturday when they surrendered their five-match unbeaten run at the Northern Gas & Power Stadium, losing 2-0 to Wycombe.

“Liam will probably be fit for Saturday, the same with Rhys,” said Jones. “Liam has a dead leg.

“Normally it’s up to five days after something like that. Saturday was probably just one day too early with him.

“He tried but the swelling in the muscle was too great. What you don’t want to do is calcify it and then he’s out for the rest of the season.

“We could not risk Rhys either. His problem is fatigue-related, it’s not a pull.

“But if you put him out there in that condition then he will end up with a pull.

“We can’t afford that because we are running at minimum [squad-wise] at the moment.”

Pools did welcome back Matthew Bates to the squad on Saturday after ankle trouble, but skipper Billy Paynter will miss the rest of the season after surgery on his Achilles.

Defender Carl Magnay is chomping at the bit to return but Jones said that the 28-year-old would not be rushed.

“Billy’s had his operation and we won’t see him now for the rest of the season.

“Mags is probably a good month away, now he needs games,

“They are two very experienced players we are missing there.”