MICHAEL Duckworth will be fined by Hartlepool United as boss Ronnie Moore is left sweating on the fitness of several key players ahead of tomorrow’s crucial home League Two clash with Stevenage.
Moore was angry that Duckworth phoned in yesterday saying his hamstring was tight but had failed to report in for treatment on Wednesday – a day off for the players.
The manager – who had just 10 players training at Maiden Castle – labelled his actions as “not very professional”.
It was a busy treatment room, with head physio Ian Gallagher joined by several squad members ahead of the visit of Graham Westley’s Stevenage side tomorrow (KO 3pm).
Matthew Bates (illness and dead leg) and Scott Fenwick (ankle) are almost certainly out while Duckworth is a concern and Scott Flinders was also receiving treatment but is expected to be fit.
Others are expected to shake off minor niggles, but former Sunderland midfielder Tommy Miller won’t be involved against Stevenage despite playing 45 minutes for the reserves on his return from three months out with a calf injury.
Moore said: “Duckworth phoned in saying his hamstring was tight, he will be fined for that.
“If his hamstring is tight then he could have been in for treatment on Wednesday unless he has over stretched in bed and done it.
“You can’t have a day off and then phone in injured, that is not very professional in my eyes.
“He knows he should have done that.
“Scott Flinders was in the physio room too, he is a bit sore, with Batesy and Fenwick they are the main concerns.
“Batesy is ill and has a dead leg, Fenwick is 90 per cent out.
“It is nice to have Tommy back training but you can see he is rusty.
“He needs games and has been out a long time but he needs to push himself now.
“Out of the seven getting treatment, we hope four will be okay but it is touch and go with the rest.
“Stevenage is our third game in a week, eight hours to Portsmouth and eight hours back, then a game on Tuesday – I’ll be getting the violin out shortly, talking about poor footballers.
“But it does drain and take a bit out of players.
“No excuses though – everyone knows how important it is and we need to make Tuesday count.
“If we don’t then we are climbing a mountain again,” added Moore.
Stevenage – who have ex-Pools midfielder Simon Walton and ex-Pools youth Danny Johnson – in their ranks – have lost three out of their last four League Two matches.
Moore added: “They are big, strong, difficult to play against.
“Results haven’t gone for them, but I’ve said teams team win five on the bounce and then lose five.
“We have to be at our best to get anything.
“I am expecting a different type of game than against Northampton, without doubt.
“They are more physical, people say they are route one but they play it when it needs to be played and have pace up top.
“We need to make teams fear coming to our place and get them on the back foot – the home form will be so vital and important to us staying in the league.”
Westley has injury concerns over Darius Charles, who was forced off in their goalless draw against Bury on Tuesday, while Jerome Okimo, Dean Perrett, Adam Marriott and Tom Pett are all on the sidelines with Jon Ashton.
Pools (likely): Flinders, Richards, Harrison, Mirfin, Austin, Woods, Tshibola, Compton, Franks, Morgan, Harewood.
Subs (from): Maxted, Richards, Holden, Jones, Nearney, Walker, Smith, Featherstone.
Stevenage (likely): Day, Henry, Ashton, Wells, Whelpdale, Bond, Walton, Lee, Beardsley, Andrade, Dembele.
Subs: Beasant, Johnson, N’Guessan Conlon, Kennedy, Deacon.