Hartlepool rocked by fresh injury to on-loan Sunderland defender

Michael Ledger
Michael Ledger
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Hartlepool United’s on-field problems have been hit further by an injury to defender Michael Ledger.

The centre-half, on loan from Sunderland, will miss tomorrow’s game against Woking after pulling his groin in training last week.

Had the game against Barrow gone ahead as scheduled, the 20-year-old wouldn’t have been available for selection.

And Pools boss Craig Harrison says he is likely to be out until the beginning of March now as he continues to count the cost of injuries and departures.

“We are down on numbers, it’s not getting easier on that front,” he said. “There’s still a few longer-term injuries.

“Ledge got injured last week again, the day before the Barrow game was due to take place.

“He’s not had much luck since he came here with injuries – he’s getting muscle injuries like hamstring, groin and it’s all stemming from his back.

“We are working with less players than last week. He was ready last week to be involved, but now he’s out a few weeks again. It was very innocuous, from a standing position he went to push off and felt his groin again.

“It’s so frustrating for everyone, he came here after playing regularly in Norway.

“We played an in-house practice game last week and he played 30 minutes, no problem. Friday was a light session and he felt it again.

“We are looking at two-three weeks.

Harrison is likely to have just 12 fit senior outfield players for the game at Victoria Park tomorrow, along with two goallkeepers and youngsters Liam Travers and Josh Hawkes promoted from the Academy.

However, he is wary of blooding inexperienced players as he doesn’t think the situation – with Pools having not won since November 21 and being sucked into a relegation battle – is the best way to develop them.

“Luke George is available and Rhys Oates is training again, so a week further on is a positive to have them around,” he added.

“It’s about getting bodies in the squad and we have 16 listed and available including Liam Travers and Josh Hawkes – take the two goalkeepers out and there’s only 12 outfield players.

“We want to play now, it’s been a good 10 days and the switch has been turned on again and it’s about getting used to what’s happening now.

“We only have 12 outfield players fit now. Playing young players has to come into it and I don’t want to put a young player in the position of having to play now in this situation – it’s not ideal, the whole picture and negativity around the club.

“It’s not a good place for young players to be. You want to give them a chance in the right circumstances – winning games, in a cup tie.

“I want to give them an opportunity and I’m not afraid to use them, but think about their future, well-being and confidence.”