The news that Will Grigg is out of the Northern Ireland game against Russia tonight with a hamstring problem has been casting a shadow over the Saddlers’ prospects for the rest of the season and making that play off spot – chances that had been improved following Swindon’s win at Yeovil on Tuesday. That means, realistically, we have to look at catching any two out of the wobbling Yeovil and Tranmere, plus Bournemouth, who may have broken out of their bad patch, whilst holding off Coventry (who may yet get a ten point deduction) and the dark horses, Orient. However, the news this afternoon that Flo Cuvelier has been told that he can go back out on loan may tempt Dean Smith to make another move for the talented Belgian. We shall see.
Smith’s major concern for tomorrow, however, will be how to replace the red hot Grigg. Bowerman doesn’t seem particularly suited to the lone striker rolw, so the most likely switch may be Westcarr up front with Baxendale coming into his role.
Meanwhile, last month’s Manager of the Month, John Hughes, will be hoping that the curse doesn’t strike his relegation threatened side, as they do have injury and illness worries.
Several members of the Pools squad were unable to train yesterday due to a sickness bug.
James Poole is ruled out of the game after being forced off in Tuesday’s 3-0 defeat at Oldham after taking a kick to his left leg. Ritchie Humphreys provides slightly brighter fitness news having returned to training yesterday after missing the Oldham trip with a calf problem. However, the veteran club captain still has question marks over his involvement, as do a lot of players when it comes to their Pools futures.
Hartlepool have suddenly found life a lot harder after their good run and I think we wont’t do them any favours tomorrow, either.