Hartlepool v Doncaster preview

Team news ahead of Saturday afternoon's League One clash between Hartlepool and Doncaster at Victoria Park.

Last Updated: 12/10/12 at 11:41

Howard: Back to boost Pools

Howard: Back to boost Pools

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Steve Howard and Paul Murray are both expected to return to Hartlepool's starting line-up.

Veteran striker Howard, who has recently been struggling with a shin injury, and midfielder Murray were rested for the midweek Johnstone's Paint Trophy defeat to Bradford.

Winger Andy Monkhouse has been ruled out for up to six weeks after damaging ankle ligaments in last weekend's defeat at Crewe, while young forward Luke James suffered a slight thigh problem playing for the reserves and was taken off as a precaution.

Midfielder Simon Walton returned to the side in midweek following his recovery from an ankle injury but he failed to impress, while new loan signing Charlie Wyke, from Middlesbrough, will be hoping to continue up front after making his Pools debut against the Bantams.

Skipper Sam Collins, midfielder Antony Sweeney and striker James Poole are all pushing for recalls as Neale Cooper's men chase their first league win in eight matches.

Doncaster will be given a double defensive boost for their trip.

Rovers were without both Shelton Martis (hamstring) and Paul Quinn (hip) on Tuesday when they knocked reigning holders Chesterfield out of the Johnstone's Paint Trophy.

But the pair were left out merely as a precaution as Dean Saunders' side triumphed 1-0 thanks to a goal from teenage debutant Jordan Ball.

Saunders is still without Jamie McCombe, who has a hairline fracture of the spine along with a torn muscle in his thigh, and is expected to be out until the new year.

Ball's fairytale first game could result in him being rewarded with a spot on the bench.

Fellow striker Iain Hume is expected to return to the starting line-up to partner Billy Paynter.

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