Double boost for Hartlepool United

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COMEBACK duo Jack Compton and Jordan Richards look set to feature for Hartlepool United in Saturday’s League Two clash with Rochdale, writes ROY KELLY.

The pair played significant chunks of last night’s Durham Challenge Cup exit at Consett to prove their fitness ahead of the crucial visit of FA Cup shock troops Dale to Victoria Park.

Richards played the first half at Belle View, wearing the captain’s armband, after making a rapid recovery from a double hernia op just four weeks ago.

And Compton, one of Pools brightest attacking threats in the first half of the season since his arrival in the summer, played the opening 71 minutes of the 4-3 defeat at the hands of the Northern League high-fliers.

The winger has missed the last two matches after suffering a calf strain in the 1-1 Boxing Day draw at Chesterfield.

It would be a surprise if manager Colin Cooper did not include Compton in his match-day 18 this Saturday.

Assistant boss Craig Hignett said Pools’ management duo were impressed by both players.

“It was good to get them back,” said Hignett.

“Jack’s missed a couple of games with his calf, while Jordi has come back really quickly.

“I thought they both did smashing.

“We gave Jordi a half and he looked sharp and so did Jack who had just over 70 minutes.

“We’ll see how they are today and see if they have had any reaction and then take it from there.

“But they both certainly looked fine on the night.

“Both were very good, Jack was especially a handful and they ended up man-marking him.

“It was always the plan to give Jordi a half and Jack an hour and while we went out, their returns were a good exercise for us.”

Richards, playing right-back, was always hungry for the ball, as was Compton, who looked a threat when he came forward with the ball.

If anything, the 25-year-old was a little too unselfish - a couple of times it looked as though he could go all the way himself but he tried to set up team-mates instead.

“It’s difficult,” said Hignett. “He loves to get forward and take people on.

“You want him going forward doing that and sometimes he makes the right decisions and sometimes he doesn’t.

“But that is part of him being a youngish player and still learning.

“I thought he put us into some really good positions in the first half but we did not do enough in the final third, we just were not clever enough.”

Pools will assess the duo today but whoever plays on Saturday, Hignett says the management and squad are braced for a testing afternoon.

Cooper and Hignett were at Spotland at the weekend when the promotion chasers ousted Leeds United from the FA Cup.

“Leeds were poor in the day, but Rochdale played very well,” Hignett added.

“They are a very good side and it’s going to be a hard game.”