THE chances of Luke Williams reappearing for Hartlepool United appear slim.

The attacker has played only 66 minutes of football this season, and that’s all he’s managed since signing for Pools in August 2018.

And manager Dave Challinor admits the player is almost fit physically, but being on the sidelines for so long has taken its toll.

Pools have eight games of the National League season left, with little sign of Williams being ready to be involved.

Given his track record – he has not started a game for Pools and last started a game in April 2017 while at Northampton – it’s highly unlikely he will be offered a new deal at Victoria Park for next season.

Challinor said: “Luke, I hope he is close to coming back. Physically he is back to a point where he can be out on the grass. If he’s at that point mentally for him, is a different matter.

“From our perspective it’s going to be the over-riding thing – can he go and believe and trust in his body and that will dictate if we see him this season or we don’t.

“He’s got to trust his body and that’s difficult with the knock backs he’s had. But we keep working with him and hopefully we will see him.’’

Challinor last week added to his squad, with the signing of Lorne Bickley.

The striker has been a regular scorer in American college football and recently returned home to play for Jersey Bulls. They sit top of the Combined Counties League, with 92 goals to their name in 26 wins from 26 games this season.

“We hope to get him in the squad straight away and we will arranged a game next week for those who need a game,’’ said Challinor. “It’s about us looking at him and us having an extended look at him.

“In training he’s showed some really good stuff and it’s a good fit for both parties.

“We are looking now, but further down the line for next season and what he’s done wherever he’s been has scored goals and we need that.

“A different type of striker can help us to the end of the season.’’

The move came about thanks to assistant manager Joe Parkinson.

Challinor added: “He was due to come over a few weeks back, but it didn’t’ happen. Joe has a mate who goes to Everton games who goes a lot to Jersey and they are trying to have a go at moving up the pyramid.

“Lorne has been in America playing college football and then played in Jersey and we had a look at him, liked what we saw. It’s a good fit.

“He can commit to full time football and his girlfriend is at Liverpool University studying.

“Moving forward and having links over there will be good. We hope to go over there pre-season and I suppose through contacts he was recommended and we hope he’s a good one.’’

Pools are at Sutton United tomorrow and right-back Macauley Southern-Hailes will return after missing last weekend’s game because of concussion protocols.