Right-back choice at Pools as Wearsider Richards and ex-SAFC Harrison battle for place

Scott Harrison takes on Salford City
Scott Harrison takes on Salford City
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Ronnie Moore faces another right-back quandary for Hartlepool United’s “massive” League Two showdown with Plymouth Argyle on Saturday.

Pools will be without the luckless Michael Duckworth, who hurt his groin in training, an injury which ruled him out of Tuesday night’s FA Cup replay success against Salford City.

Worse was to follow for Pools and Moore when Carl Magnay, who deputised for Duckworth, came off late in the 2-0 win, also suffering from groin trouble.

The skipper is a major doubt for the visit of the high-flying Pilgrims and even if head physio Ian Gallagher can get the 26-year-old fit, there is every chance Moore would want him in midfield.

Magnay was a huge miss in the middle of the park where Salford ran the play until Pools took control in extra-time.

“The right-back spot is a problem area,” admitted Moore.

“It’s awful at the moment. We’ll have to see how he is.”

Moore, despite seeing ex-Sunderland defender Scott Harrison tortured at Mansfield last month, decided to bring on the centre-back at right-back against the non-leaguers.

Harrison was skinned straight away by Richie Allen, but after that he defended superbly.

The 22-year-old not only won his tackles but made a lot of defensive headers and was positive coming out, just what Pools needed after being on the back foot for extended periods in the tie.

Moore had Wearsider Jordan Richards on the bench, a right-back by trade, but opted for the physical presence of Harrison.

“We saw Scotty there at Mansfield and that frightened me a bit [bringing him on],” said the manager.

“But we used him with the height Salford had and the amount of players they had pushed up I just thought he was a better bet than Jordy.

“Salford threw the kitchen sink at us and he has made one or two really crucial headers for us on that back post.”

Richards, though, could still get the nod against Plymouth on Saturday, providing Moore thinks he is fit enough to start.

The 22-year-old has only just returned from back trouble and may be is not quite yet back up to the pace of League Two.

It’s a tough call for Moore, especially given Harrison’s troubles at Mansfield against Nathan Thomas.

“His performance on Tuesday night has given me food for thought,” explained Moore. “But I need to think hard about it because Plymouth’s widemen are decent.”