Hartlepool v Notts C preview

Team news for Saturday's League One clash between Hartlepool and Notts County at Victoria Park.

Last Updated: 01/02/13 at 12:10

Steve Howard: Still doubtful for Pools

Steve Howard: Still doubtful for Pools

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Hartlepool manager John Hughes is expected to name an unchanged starting line-up.

Hughes, who has no new injury or suspension problems, is unlikely to tinker with a winning formula after Pools secured their third league win of the season last week at Portsmouth.

Striker Steve Howard is still struggling with a hamstring strain, so James Poole looks set to continue up front alongside Middlesbrough loanee Charlie Wyke, although teenager Luke James staked his claim for a return to the side with an impressive display off the substitutes' bench at Portsmouth.

Teenage defender Jordan Richards will not be ready in time to be included due to the knee injury that has kept him out of the last two matches, while midfielder Antony Sweeney remains sidelined with a similar problem.

Pools will be chasing their first home success since September and their first back-to-back wins of the season.

Notts County will be without suspended captain Neal Bishop.

Bishop was shown a straight red card for slapping Portsmouth's Johnny Ertl across the face during the Magpies' 2-0 win at Fratton Park on Tuesday night and the midfielder will begin a three-match ban.

Manager Keith Curle said: "The ref said he raised his hands and if you do that you are always going to be in trouble.

"It doesn't matter whether it's a playful pat on the face or a haymaker of a right hand that knocks somebody spark out, you still get sent off. Bish knows he's in the wrong."

Teenager Fabian Spiess will remain in goal with Bartosz Bialkowski still suffering with the head injury that forced him off against Leyton Orient six days ago.

Curle's side are chasing back-to-back league victories for the first time since mid-October.

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