HARTLEPOOL United’s defensive problems are mounting ahead of tomorrow’s trip to Bristol Rovers.
Pools had hoped to add Leicester City’s highly-rated centre-back Cian Bolger to their ranks in time for Saturday’s defeat against Dagenham and Redbridge.
But, despite having trained with Pools last week, he will not be moving to Victoria Park and could, instead, be lining up against Mick Wadsworth’s men for Dave Penny’s Rovers in 24 hours’ time.
The breakdown of the loan deal leaves Pools short at the back – especially with the news that skipper Sam Collins and vice-captain Neil Austin could be absent at the Memorial Stadium.
Austin, right, hobbled from the action on Saturday after taking a hefty whack to the calf during the second half.
Wadsworth explained: “Neil got a kick on the calf. We’ll have to have a look at that, but he is a doubt for Tuesday given how close the game is.”
Armann Bjornsson, partnered with Peter Hartley against The Daggers, could again deputise at centre-back.
Wadsworth said last week: “Sam thinks he’s got half a chance. But we’ll wait and see how he is on Monday and take it from there.”
Before his injury it was Austin who had first threatened on Saturday as, from Brown’s layoff, he shaved the base of the post from 20 yards after just four minutes.
Liddle then struck the angle of post and bar from similar range before Austin clattered a free kick into the visiting wall.
Monkhouse headed on to the roof of the net from McSweeney’s corner as Pools continued to apply the pressure and McSweeney himself drew a fine save from Roberts with a stinging strike.
Horwood then steamed on to McSweeney’s deep delivery and thundered a first-time volley towards the bottom corner, but again, Roberts intervened.
Dagenham mustered a tame shot into the side-netting in the 57th minute – courtesy of Marvin Morgan – but all they needed was that late counter-attack and so stole the points thanks to Tomlin’s near-post finish.
Hartlepool: Kean, Austin (Yantorno 77), Bjornsson, Hartley, Horwood, McSweeney, Sweeney, Murray (Boyd 85), Liddle, Monkhouse, Brown (Humphreys 67). Subs Not Used: Flinders, Gamble, Haslam, Larkin.
Dag & Red: Roberts, Ogogo, Arber, Doe, Ilesanmi, Elito (Nurse 75), Gain, Green, Vincelot, Tomlin, Morgan. Subs Not Used: Antwi, Scannell, Savage, Currie, Bingham, Lewington. Booked: Ilesanmi. Goals: Tomlin 86.
Ref: Karl Evans (Lancashire).