Stephen Wright is a doubt for Hartlepool United’s Boxing Day clash with Oldham Athletic

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STEPHEN Wright remains an injury doubt for Hartlepool ahead of the Boxing Day trip to Oldham Athletic.

The 31-year-old was ruled out of Saturday’s 1-0 defeat at home to Colchester United because of an Achilles problem.

It was hoped he’d make the game given the absence of Peter Hartley, who was serving a one-match suspension.

But the Scouser came up short in his fitness race, as caretaker coach Micky Barron explained: “Stephen was doubtful and we couldn’t really push him.

“It wouldn’t have been fair on him to do that so we dropped Gary Liddle back into defence and that gave Jack Baldwin the chance to come into midfield.

“But we’ll have to see how Stephen is for next week now before deciding what we do.”

Wright – who has missed the last two matches – will not be forced back to fitness given the return of Hartley.

If he collects another five between now and the end of February he will be slapped with a two-match suspension.

Liddle is another who has to watch his step with the midfielder walking the proverbial suspension tightrope with four yellow cards to his name this term.

Meanwhile, Barron has confirmed that Nathan Luscombe – missing from the substitutes’ bench on Saturday – is not injured.

The Pools boss preferred to include 17-year-old Luke James in his matchday squad and explained his decision to Luscombe.

“I just wanted to get Luke on the bench and we needed a defender on there with Steve (Haslam) so Nathan was just unfortunate he wasn’t involved,” he said.

“I told him the reasons for it and he’s fine, no problem at all.”