Pools boss Moore: Major problem if Duckworth is not fit to face Accrington

Hartlepool United boss Ronnie Moore watches his side succumb to defeat at Field Mill

Hartlepool United boss Ronnie Moore watches his side succumb to defeat at Field Mill

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Ronnie Moore is keeping his fingers crossed that Michael Duckworth will be fit to return for Hartlepool United’s trip to Accrington Stanley tomorrow night.

The right-back was sorely missed on Saturday at Mansfield Town, where Pools lost 3-1 to the Stags.

Town winger Nathan Thomas gave stand-in full-back Scott Harrison the most uncomfortable of afternoons and Moore was, typically, honest enough to admit that the ex-Sunderland centre-half cannot start there again.

With Jordan Richards still a little short on match fitness after recovering from a back problem, Moore has three other options should Duckworth fail to shake off a calf injury.

Carl Magnay is a good right-back, though that would potentially weaken the centre of midfield.

Nicky Featherstone could go in there, though the midfielder is not a fan of that position.

Or, as he mentioned after the match, Moore has the option of recalling Josh Nearney from his loan spell at Whitby Town.

Of course, he would like his first-choice right-back Duckworth fit and he’s hopeful.

“Ducky should be all right,” said Moore. “But if he’s not then it’s a major problem.

“I’ll probably call Josh back and play him there.

“We don’t want to play Nicky there – he’s a centre-midfielder who could fill that role.

“We have players who can move about, but I didn’t want to take Carl out of the midfield area. He gives us some steel in there.

“But it’s food for thought and we’ll look at it.

“I tried Scotty at right-back and it’s now proven to everyone that he’s not a right-back.

“But until you do it and see it then you don’t know.

“It’s unfair to criticise to Scotty because he’s a centre-half playing out of position, we haven’t got a [fully fit] right-backl at the club at this present time.”

Moore says the Teessider will not be affected by the experience.

“We ran through it in the training sessions and you think it’s going to be OK.

“But Scott has learned what it’s like now and it won’t do him any harm knowing how hard right-back is.

“It’s tricky when someone is running at you.”