Hartlepool v Stevenage preview

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

Last Updated: 07/12/12 at 15:10

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Hartlepool manager John Hughes could name an unchanged starting line-up.

Pools halted a run of five straight defeats in all competitions with a 1-1 draw at Walsall in their last match and Hughes has no new injury or suspension problems.

But defender Neil Austin remains sidelined as he sits out the second of a four-game ban following his second dismissal of the season in the recent defeat to Oldham, so teenager Jordan Richards is expected to retain his place after making his fifth appearance for the club last week.

Midfielder Simon Walton missed the draw at Walsall due to a hamstring injury and is not ready for a return to action, while teenage striker Luke James, who played for 45 minutes for the reserves in midweek, will continue to build up his match fitness following a double hernia operation.

Pools, 10 points adrift at the foot of the table, are chasing their first win under Hughes and their first success since September 1.

Stevenage will check on the fitness of Filipe Morais ahead of the weekend tie.

The Portuguese midfielder suffered an ankle injury that forced him off during the first half of the 1-1 draw against leaders Tranmere a fortnight ago.

Luke Freeman came on as a substitute and will be in line to start if Morais is ruled out.

Darius Charles serves a one-match ban for collecting his fifth yellow card of the season and fellow defender Jon Ashton is still out with an Achilles injury.

With Boro not in action last weekend due to the FA Cup, the first team took on Reading in a friendly in midweek to keep up their fitness and ran out 2-0 winners courtesy of goals from Greg Tansey and Robin Shroot.

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