Hartlepool v Preston preview

Team news ahead of the New Year's Day clash between Hartlepool and Preston at Victoria Park.

Last Updated: 31/12/12 at 11:17

Poole: Pushing for a start

Poole: Pushing for a start

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Hartlepool manager John Hughes is expected to keep any changes to his side at a minimum.

Pools secured their first win in 23 matches at Sheffield United on Saturday - and their first in seven attempts under current boss Hughes, who has no new major injury worries.

Midfielder Simon Walton (hamstring), plus defenders Peter Hartley (conjunctivitis) and Evan Horwood (groin) all returned for the 3-0 defeat at Carlisle on Boxing Day and retained their places in the victory at Bramall Lane.

Striker James Poole is pushing for a recall after impressing as a second-half substitute on Saturday and teenager Luke James is also in contention after a recent bout of tonsilitis, while defenders Jack Baldwin and Neil Austin, plus winger Andy Monkhouse are all hoping to feature.

Graham Westley is hoping Jack King can recover from a bout of illness in time for Preston's trip to Hartlepool.

King was ruled out of Saturday's 3-0 home defeat to Doncaster, North End's heaviest defeat of the season, which extends their winless run to eight League One games since beating Westley's former club Stevenage in November.

The versatile 27-year-old joined defenders Keith Keane (knee) and Scott Laird (broken leg) and midfielders Lee Holmes (groin) and Nicky Wroe (knee) on the sidelines.

"We have those two (Keane and Laird), Nicky Wroe, Lee Holmes and Jack King went down overnight," Lilywhites boss Westley told his club's official website after the Rovers reverse.

"With those five lads missing we were dependant on two or three young players."

Stuart Beavon is expected to continue in attack after shaking off a hip problem to start at the weekend.

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