Scott Harrison looks set for another excursion at right back – with Hartlepool United boss Ronnie Moore admitting that Carl Magnay remains a doubt for Saturday’s League Two visit of Notts County.
Pools are without their first-choice number two Michael Duckworth until the end of next month – at the earliest.
Magnay filled in at full-back against Salford City only to come off late in the recent FA Cup replay with a groin strain.
With the stand-in skipper ruled out against Plymouth last weekend, ex-Sunderland reserve-teamer Harrison came into the back four.
Wearsider Jordan Richards, a specialist right-back, is in the squad, but is still working his way back to full fitness following back trouble.
Harrison did a good job, for the most part, against Plymouth, though Richards has the chance in training to press his claims. “There’s no way Ducky is going to be fit,” said Moore. “He’ll be four or five weeks away.
“Maggers at this time is 70-30 against playing so it will probably be between them two [Harrison and Richards] who plays on Saturday.”
There is an outside chance Harrison may be required at centre-half.
Matthew Bates, who skippered Pools at the weekend, suffered Achilles and toe injuries against the Pilgrims.
Meanwhile, Pools’ players will be in for training on Christmas Day.
Moore said the squad needed to prepare as they would normally do on a Friday before the weekend fixture.
They will probably do a morning session before spending the rest of Christmas Day with their families. But Moore has sent a warning to players not to over-indulge with too much turkey or Christmas pudding.
“It’s about looking after yourself – if one or two come back as Porky Pigs then we have massive fines, we are not having it.
“If they come back a kilo over, we’re not having it.”
Moore does want his players to enjoy December 25 but insists, for a footballer, this week is a case of business as usual.
“Nothing changes,” added Moore in an interview with the club’s website. “it’s all about trying to get that win so we have to do things right.
“It’s not that hard for the players to come in on Christmas morning – the ones with kids will be up early anyway! A lot of them have been in the game a long time so it’s not hard to give up that time.
“We only have the one game over Christmas this year so we can put all our eggs in one basket and go all-out for the performance we want on Saturday.
“You trust the players will do the right things and make sure they eat right over Christmas.”
“I am not against them having some fun, just as long as they don’t go crackers!”