HARTLEPOOL UNITED captain Andrew Davies should be back in full training next week.

The centre-half has been sidelines with an ankle ligament problem, suffered on August 11.

Rest and treatment means he is on course for a return, after missing the last seven games.

Matthew Bates, speaking at his press conference this morning, admitted: “Andrew is going well, he’ been outside a couple of times this week and been OK. We hope for more today and over the weekend – hopefully he is back training at the back end of next week or the start of the week after.

“This week’s game is far too soon, possibly next weekend too, but we are pleased.’’

Luke Williams, recently signed, has yet to be involved in the first-team after a bout of tonsillitis, but he is in contention for Saturday’s home game with Eastleigh.

Bates added: “It’s been difficult for Luke with games and no reserves games so it’s been difficult to get him out there on the ball in training. But we are in a good position that we don’t have to rush him back and he will be back in good time – I’m 90 per cent sure he will be back in the fold for Saturday.

“When Andrew got injured, I’m sure people feared the worst for us. But the lads in there have stepped up at the back to their credit and we want a squad which is competitive and it’s good that there are players of a high level to come back in and strengthen it even more.

“It all creates competition for places.’’