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Sky Bet League 1

Victoria Park, Hartlepool United (ATT 3,065) 23rd March 2013 - Kick off 15:00 Ref: A Madley

Hartlepool Hartlepool United vs Walsall Walsall

Hartlepool v Walsall preview

Last Updated: 22/03/13 2:34pm

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James Poole: Faces a late fitness test

James Poole: Faces a late fitness test

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

Hartlepool striker James Poole faces a late fitness test ahead of his side's home game.

Poole, who has started in the last 12 matches, took a kick to his left leg during the midweek defeat at Oldham and is doubtful.

Middlesbrough loanee Charlie Wyke is likely to return to the starting line-up if Poole fails to make it.

Wyke made way at Oldham for Steve Howard, who made his first start since late January having struggled to get back in the side following a hamstring injury.

Boss John Hughes could be forced to make one or two other changes as several of his squad are struggling with a sickness bug.

But midfielder Ritchie Humphreys is expected to be back in contention after missing out at Oldham due to a calf strain.

Teenagers Jordan Richards and Jack Baldwin remain sidelined with respective season-ending knee injuries.

Promotion-chasing Walsall will have to make at least two alterations at Victoria Park.

Boss Dean Smith will change an unbeaten line-up for the first time in six games to counter the loss of top scorer Will Grigg and goalkeeper Aaron McCarey.

Grigg, who has 19 goals to his name this season, is away on international duty with Northern Ireland although he is set to miss their World Cup qualifiers against Russia and Israel due to a hamstring problem.

McCarey was this week recalled from his loan spell at the Banks's Stadium by parent club Wolves, with highly-rated Manchester United stopper Sam Johnstone subsequently brought in on a deal until the end of the season.

Johnstone will now start at Victoria Park as the Saddlers aim to close the three-point gap on the play-off places.

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Matches

Table

Sky Bet League 1

Sky Bet League 1
Pos Team P Pts
1 Bristol City 21 42
2 Milton Keynes Dons 20 41
3 Swindon Town 21 41
4 Preston North End 21 41
5 Sheffield United 21 33
6 Rochdale 21 31
7 Notts County 20 31
8 Bradford City 21 30
9 Peterborough United 21 30
10 Oldham Athletic 21 30
11 Chesterfield 21 28
12 Fleetwood Town 21 27
13 Walsall 21 27
14 Barnsley 21 26
15 Port Vale 21 26
16 Doncaster Rovers 20 26
17 Coventry City 21 25
18 Scunthorpe United 20 23
19 Gillingham 21 22
20 Crawley Town 21 22
21 Colchester United 21 20
22 Yeovil Town 21 20
23 Leyton Orient 21 19
24 Crewe Alexandra 21 19