Sheff Utd v Hartlepool preview

Date published: Friday 28th December 2012 3:05

Sheffield United boss Danny Wilson will be without Shaun Miller and Neill Collins.

Miller was ruled out for the remainder of the season on Friday after it was announced the striker suffered cruciate knee ligament damage in their Boxing Day win over Scunthorpe.

Defender Collins will also be out for up to two months after sustaining a triple fracture to his cheekbone. The former Leeds man underwent surgery immediately after the game.

Defender Tony McMahon will also be missing for the Blades as he serves a one-match suspension following his fifth yellow card of the season against the Iron.

Goalkeeper Mark Howard (thigh) and defender Lescinel Jean-Francois (knee) are working their way back to fitness but are unlikely to be risked against a side with just one win all year.

Beleaguered Hartlepool’s injury problems are easing as they prepare to make the daunting trip to League One table toppers Sheffield United.

John Hughes’ side, who prop up the division, have won just one game all season and none since the Scot took the reins from Neale Cooper in November.

However, Pools were able to include Nathan Luscombe (knee), Simon Walton (hamstring), Peter Hartley (conjunctivitis), Evan Horwood (groin) and Luke James (tonsilitis) for the 3-0 defeat to Carlisle.

Midfielders Luscombe and Walton were unused substitutes while teenager James came off the bench as Hughes eased his absentees back into action.

Goalkeeper Andy Rafferty is still on the sidelines due to an operation he had on his knee over the summer.

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Sheff Utd v Hartlepool preview

Date published: Friday 30th December 2011 11:46

James Beattie could make the first start of his second spell at Sheffield United in this match.

The 33-year-old striker rejoined the Blades at the end of November, but had to wait until the Boxing Day win over Notts County for his first appearance as a late substitute due to a calf injury.

Fellow striker Richard Cresswell will miss out due to a one-game ban under the totting-up procedure to leave Beattie vying with Chris Porter for a place alongside Ched Evans.

Midfielder Stephen Quinn is also suspended for one game, but Lee Williamson is expected to return to the side following his ban, while Kevin McDonald, Johnny Ertl and Nick Montgomery, who has shaken off a chest infection, will all be in contention for a midfield role.

Defender Lecsinel Jean-Francois is a slight doubt due to a groin strain, but is expected to feature as the Blades look to consolidate after climbing into the second automatic promotion spot on Tuesday for the first time since the end of September.

Meanwhile, Hartlepool’s new manager Neale Cooper has no fresh injury or suspension worries for the clash at Sheffield United – the first game of his second spell in charge.

Cooper, manager at Victoria Park from 2003 to 2005 and appointed as Mick Wadsworth’s successor this week, is unlikely to make many, if any, changes.

Defender Stephen Wright remains sidelined due to the Achilles injury that has kept him out of the last three matches and strikers Colin Nish and Colin Larkin are continuing their rehabilitation following respective knee surgery.

Defender Jack Baldwin, 18, is expected to retain his place in central midfield after starting and impressing in the last two games and fellow teenager Luke James is pushing for his first start after stepping off the substitutes’ bench in those same matches.

Pools have lost their last eight home games, but won their first league clash in five at Oldham last week.

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