Pools welcome back Collins
Skipper Sam Collins will return to the Hartlepool squad for the trip to Crewe in the first round of the Capital One Cup.
The 35-year-old defender missed the friendly against Newcastle because of family reasons and is likely to partner Peter Hartley at centre-half. Boss Neale Cooper has doubts over Colin Nish and Ritchie Humphreys, who have both missed training in recent weeks, but has no other selection concerns. Scottish striker Nish has a knee injury while long-serving defender Humphreys is suffering with a hamstring problem. Former Leicester striker Steve Howard could make his second Hartlepool debut after returning to his first club. Fellow new-boys Simon Walton and Jonathan Franks will also be pushing for starts at Gresty Road following their respective moves from Plymouth and Middlesbrough.