Football - Hughes waiting on four

Hartlepool boss John Hughes hopes to have a quartet of players back from injury for the Boxing Day trip to Carlisle.

PA Sport

Midfielders Nathan Luscombe (knee) and Simon Walton (hamstring), plus defender Peter Hartley (conjunctivitis) had returned to training prior to Saturday's scheduled home fixture against Portsmouth which was called off because of a waterlogged pitch.

Defender Evan Horwood is also expected to be back in contention after being forced off with a groin injury early in Hartlepool's last match, a defeat at MK Dons.

The extra few days on the training pitch should see all four available for selection at Brunton Park, as Hughes goes looking for his first win in charge of the club after replacing Neale Cooper in mid-November.

Hughes has lost four and drawn one of his first five games at the helm, as Pools remain rock-bottom of npower League One with just nine points from 22 fixtures.

Striker Luke James should return to the squad following a bout of tonsillitis, but goalkeeper Andy Rafferty remains a long-term absentee following his summer knee operation.

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