Former Chelsea player Michael Woods can be fit for the start of Hartlepool United season

Michael Woods is on course for a remarkable return to the Hartlepool United side.
Michael Woods in training at Catterick. Picture by Frank ReidMichael Woods in training at Catterick. Picture by Frank Reid
Michael Woods in training at Catterick. Picture by Frank Reid

The talented midfielder is a month ahead of schedule in his recovery from a dislocated ankle and fractured fibula after working hard throughout the sumer with head physio Ian Gallagher.

Luckless Woods has not played since suffering the injury in the 1-0 win over Wimbledon at the end of February.

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But watching the 25-year-old conquering the arduous assault course during Pools’ army boot camp in Catterick yesterday was one of the highlights of the day.

And boss Ronnie Moore told SportMail he has every chance of being in contention for the League Two opener against Morecambe on August 8. “He’s pre-seasoned really well,” said Moore.

“He’ll have a chance of maybe starting, something we were not expecting, which is really pleasing.

“Buster (Gallagher) has done a helluva job with him.”

Woods was a signing by previous boss Colin Cooper last summer but, ironically found his best form under Moore.

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TheYork-born player was the catalyst for Pools improving form when he was injured against the Wombles, and Moore is full of praise for the former Chelsea youngster.

“He was our top man at that particular time,” he explained.

“I believe we’d probably have been safer a lot earlier if he’d been fit right through, but unfortunately, he wasn’t.

“He’s in a position now where can he get himself back in the team?

“The opportuniyty is there like it is there and open for any player in pre-season.

“I’m just pleased he has a chance to start because it was a really nasty injury and the credit is down to him and Buster.”