Ex-Boro star Stuart Parnaby could return for Hartlepool United

ON HIS WAY BACK: Stuart Parnaby. 'Picture by FRANK REID
ON HIS WAY BACK: Stuart Parnaby. 'Picture by FRANK REID
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STUART Parnaby is “well ahead of schedule” and Ronnie Moore says there is a chance he could return from his serious knee injury before the end of the campaign.

It was initially thought the 32-year-old was out for the season after surgery on his patella tendon injury back in November, ruling him out for nine months.

But Parnaby has made good progress, working alongside head physio Ian Gallagher.

Moore said: “Stuart is making good progress, there might be a chance [he’ll be back before the end of the season].

“We leave that to Buster but he is back training and well ahead of schedule.

“We will just have to see what happens with him.”

Stuart Parnaby is making good progress, there might be a chance he’ll be back before the end of the season.

Ronnie Moore

Parnaby, a former Middlesbrough and Birmingham City right-back, was signed by Colin Cooper in the summer.

He has made just five appearances this season and hasn’t featured since being substituted in the 5-1 league defeat away to Northampton Town in September.

It comes as Pools also confirmed Matthew Bates has undergone minor surgery in a bid to speed up the healing process following his dead leg.

Bates has been out since damaging his left thigh in the game at Portsmouth last month.

The 28-year-old was initially told that six weeks’ rest would give the injury a chance to settle down before he resumed playing.

But medical staff have been concerned about his progress and Bates had surgery this week.

Gallagher said: “Matthew underwent an operation to remove a haematoma deep in the muscle because it wasn’t dispersing naturally.

“We’ve tried to allow the injury to settle down over time but had he not had the surgery now then his season would have almost certainly been over.

“The operation now gives us the chance to progress Matthew’s rehabilitation and speed up the recovery process, without rushing him too much.”

Bates is on the injury list alongside Scott Fenwick (ankle) and Michael Woods, out for the season after dislocating his ankle and fracturing his leg in the win over Wimbledon.

Speaking ahead of the visit of Burton Albion tomorrow, Moore said Woods is in good spirits.

Moore said: “Michael is doing fine now, to be fair.

“He’s in good spirits, but he is a massive loss for us – Fenwick, Bates, Woods are three players who we will miss.

“It’s a chance for Nicky Featherstone or Brad Walker to come in and do well and establish themselves.”

Tommy Miller won’t be involved against Burton, though he is expected to feature for the reserves next week.

Moore added: “Tommy is getting his fitness levels up to where they should be and I don’t see any reason why he can’t play for the reserves next week.”