EVAN Horwood is likely to lose his ever-present tag for Hartlepool United tomorrow.

The left-back has started all 17 games since his summer signing from Carlisle, but a groin strain puts his place in tomorrow’s game at Dagenham and Redbridge in doubt.

He was forced off in the second- half of last week’s home draw with Bristol Rovers.

“Evan Horwood is a big doubt for Saturday, we will prepare without him and the likelihood is he won’t be travelling,’’ revealed caretaker boss Mick Wadsworth.

“You have to think about it, Paul Murray can play leftback and played the early part of his career there, Steve Haslam did a good stint there last season so I’m led to believe.

“They are the two we are thinking of, with Steve the most likely candidate. I don’t want to make big changes and alterations because of one injury.’’ But Wadsworth will also make one further change to his side, with midfielder and top scorer Antony Sweeney returning to the starting XI after a hamstring injury.

“We will probably bring Tony Sweeney back in and make room for him,’’ added Wadsworth. “He came on to a positive effect last week, he scored and has done that regularly this season.

“Then we have to work out who to replace Evan.

“The midfield has done well of late, Joe Gamble scored last week which helps him and Gary Liddle is doing well generally, giving us another dimension in there which we didn’t have before.

“It’s very competitive in there and we’ve Ritchie Humphreys coming back as well.’’ After loan goalkeeper Conor Devlin returned to Manchester United this week, Pools are seeking another temporary signing as cover for Jake Kean.

Teenager Liam Mooney is likely to be the back-up keeper tomorrow and Wadsworth said: “We were hopeful of getting someone in, but as is often the case it’s not my decision.

“We have been at it now for a week and waiting for an answer.

It’s frustrating, but there’s nothing I can do about it.

“We have a plan A and a plan B. If necessary we will take young Liam with us, I’ve no problem with that but he is 16 years old and it may be a bit too soon in a sense. But he has done well for the reserves and I’m not fearful of it.

“We need someone in to give back up to Jake. Scott Flinders has had his cast removed and is progressing well, but it’s a delicate recovery and we are still looking at Christmas.’’