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Hartlepool resources stretched as Anthony Sweeney misses York City outing
HARTLEPOOL will be without injured skipper Anthony Sweeney for tomorrow’s League Two clash at York City.
The 29-year-old midfielder, who has been a Pool regular for the last 12 years with 424 first-team outings to his name, limped out of the action during the first half of last weekend’s 1-0 home defeat to Southend.
Subsequent scans have revealed a torn calf muscle, ruling Sweeney out for at least a fortnight.
Former Leeds United midfielder Simon Walton, who also played at Championship level for Ipswich, Cardiff, QPR, Hull, Plymouth and Blackpool, is now likely to stand in for Sweeney, having replaced him against the Shrimpers.
The Southend result means Hartlepool have lost all three of their opening 2013/14 fixtures – an unenviable record that only Plymouth, Gillingham, Sheffield Wednesday and Brighton can match at this early stage of the Football League season.
Along with Plymouth and Mansfield, the Victoria Park outfit are also one of three teams not to get on the scoresheet in a League Two game this term.
With that in mind, manager Colin Cooper looks set to turn to 37-year-old veteran Steve Howard.
The ex-Luton, Derby and Leicester target man has been used as a substitute in each of Pool’s first three games – defeats to Rochdale (3-0), Nottingham Forest (3-1) and Southend – but his experience is now likely to be utilised from the start.
Howard has netted 209 times in 777 career appearances but has come underfire from the fans having only scored in one of his last 28 games for the club.
He also ended last season on loan at Sheffield Wednesday, as Hartlepool headed for relegation from League One.
Teenager Luke James is likely to make way for the return of Howard, who once refused to relinquish penalty duties at Bootham Crescent only to miss a twice-taken spot kick for former club Luton before being immediately dragged off the pitch by then Hatters manager Joe Kinnear.
Hartlepool will arrive in North Yorkshire having lost six and won only one of their last eight away games.
Hartlepool (probable): Flinders, Austin, Baldwin, Burgess, Holden, Franks, Walton, Walker, Compton, Poole, Howard.
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