Sweeney bolsters Hartlepool United, but teen star Walker may miss out

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COLIN Cooper will welcome skipper Antony Sweeney back into his squad for tomorrow’s visit of Accrington Stanley (kick-off 3pm) – but the boss is still sweating on the fitness of Brad Walker.

The 17-year-old was forced off after just four minutes during last weekend’s 2-1 defeat to Wycombe Wanderers and left Victoria Park wearing a protective boot.

But Walker’s ankle complaint appears to have eased and there remains a chance he could feature against the league’s bottom club.

Sweeney, too, is set to be involved in some capacity having this week returned to full training following a calf layoff.

As Cooper explained: “Antony has trained all this week.

“He’s back in the fold and I’m pleased.

“He had a hard session on Tuesday and we’ll see how he comes though today.

“We’ll try to get him back involved.

“Sweens wanted the four-to-six weeks to be a fortnight.

“It didn’t happen like that but he’s back sooner than expected.

“I don’t think that’s unusual of him.”

If Walker does prove his fitness then Cooper could name an unchanged side.

That would mean the XI who put five past Bradford City in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy last week again taking to the field.

“The team that played against Bradford deserved another opportunity last weekend,” Cooper added.

“The team hasn’t been shuffled around too much because I’m not a believer in rotation if things are going reasonably well.

“We’re just constantly saying to them ‘you’re not far off doing the right things’.

“I don’t feel as though Wycombe did enough to beat us, but they did.

“We thought that run we’re after might happen after Bradford and everything might fall into place, it didn’t quite happen for us.

“That was frustrating and we need to find that consistency.

“What top players do is they win a game and then they win again, and again, and again.

“You don’t win, lose, draw.

“That level of consistency takes some getting to but it’s what we’re aiming for.”

POOLS (probable): Flinders; Duckworth, Burgess, Baldwin, Austin; Franks, Walker, Dolan, Compton; Monkhouse, James. Subs: Rafferty, Sweeney, Walton, Collins, Howard, Richards, Poole