WITH Luke James out for the season, Gime Toure banned for three games, Luke Molyneux and Luke Williams still away from first-team returns and Nicke Kabamba toiling alone up front, Hartlepool United have added to their attacking options.

Aidan Keena has signed a permanent deal from Hearts, but Pools are awaiting international clearance from the Scottish FA before his can make his debut.

If it arrives, then he’s in contention for today’s game at Dover.

The Pools boss instantly dismissed any talk this week of a move for AFC Fylde’s prolific front man Danny Rowe, but Keena still offers some of the shooting attributes of the frontman who the Pools boss nurtured at his previous club.

He also spoke to a former Pools striker for an insight into the Republic of Ireland Under-21 international.

“He’s a player who come highly recommended,” Challinor said. “Aidan is a young lad who has been up in Scotland but he is really keen to prove himself in England now and keep progressing in his career.

“I spoke to Jon Daly who worked with him in the youth set-up and the first team at Hearts and he spoke very highly of him in terms of his attitude and his ability.

“He’s got great self-belief and is always looking to get shots on goal at every opportunity in and around the penalty area.

“I’ve said before that we have to keep our supporters in the game, especially at home, and there’s no better way of doing that than by a players backing themselves, having shots and scoring goals.’’

Pools go to Dover today, the first meeting between the sides since the game at Victoria Park was tainted by racism last September.

The FA charge still hangs over Pools, with any punishment yet to be determined. A 43-year-old man was arrested at the time, but remains released under investigation.

Challinor said: “This is a really tough game and I wasn’t there for the previous meeting, but there’s lots of talk and speculation around that.

“That has no bearing on the game for me. I know Andy [Hessenthaler] well and he’s turned them around and we expect a tough one. It’s a long way to go and they have a good home record. We are a good team as well and between the sides, there’s not a lot.

“We had tough games over Christmas and that makes us disappointed with the return. One win on Tuesday and if that becomes two wins and three wins, then the things that happened over Christmas and New Year are forgotten about. This is about putting a run up and backing up Tuesday’s win.

“We’ve been consistent, pretty consistent in performance and performance levels, but inconsistent in results. I’ve had a go at the players on occasions, but we need consistency in results.

“When we have lost or not won we have bounced back and not allowed us to lose consecutively, and we won on Tuesday and we have to back that up.’’

Toure is banned for the second of three games, after he was caught on camera hitting out at an Oxford defender off the ball.

Challinor was critical of the player on Tuesday, after he was forced to take him out of his plans for the win over Eastleigh.

The manager is still struggling to understand Toure’s actions and said: “I don’t feel I was particularly strong in what I said about him. If one of your players goes and punches someone and gets a three-game ban from it then I think it’s stupid. I can’t defend the indefensible. He’s let his team-mates down and the club down and we are a small squad.

“We have a small enough squad as it is to make sure everyone is available. We can’t have people being stupid. There’s a professionalism and a discipline we need to have. We can’t miss players, players who are among our top scorers, and everyone suffers as a result.’’

Myles Anderson is back from a loan at Aldershot and set to start today in the absence of injured centre-halves Michael Raynes and Fraser Kerr. Aaron Cunningham is also available after injury.

Challinor added: “Myles came back and it’s turned around quickly for him in losing three defenders in two games. Him and Arron come into the plans. Do we play a three or a back four? We are short on numbers and need to look at where we are.

“Aaron has been back in training, but had a couple of set-backs. He’s getting back to a level to be able to play and be patient and keep training and wait for a chance. With other people out, then it could be a chance for him. Everyone in the squad will be involved this weekend.’’