JOHN Askey has again taken aim at the National League after confirming Hartlepool United duo Anthony Mancini and Dan Dodds are set to miss the rest of the season with serious injuries.

Askey described the news as a "massive blow for the football club".

Dodds went down late on in last Saturday's 3-1 win over AFC Fylde and it has now been confirmed the former Middlesbrough and Darlington defender has suffered an ACL injury.

Mancini, meanwhile, was forced off in the early stages of Saturday's defeat at Chesterfield and suffered a serious hamstring injury.

"The situation with Anthony and Doddsy is it looks as though they'll be out for the season," said Askey.

"It's a massive blow for the football club. It gives other people opportunities and we just have to now work that little bit harder and it's up to other people to step up to the mark.

"With Dan it's his ACL and with Anthony it's his hamstring but it's come away. I can't see that it will be sooner than six months.

"It is devastating. Both are just at that age where they're coming good and we'll see the best of them.

"Anthony has come in and gave everybody a lift, so to lose him is a big blow. Doddsy, there aren't many players like him at any level who can travel with the ball from centre-half, so we'll probably have to change how we play but we still have to be positive.

"It's very difficult to know what to say to them other than they know we're there to support them and we'll make sure they get the best treatment and are looked after. They are both young enough and have good careers ahead of them."

Askey blamed the National League schedule for Mancini's injury. Pools had less than 48 hours between their win over Fylde on Saturday evening and trip to Chesterfield on Bank Holiday Monday.

Askey told BBC Tees: "That's the reason it's happened. It's not only me that's spoken about it, other managers have as well.

"It's ridiculous that you have to play again less than 48 hours after a game. That's why what what has happened has happened. You should be able to sue the league really. Talking about looking after players, the league aren't doing that."

Pools, who look to get back to winning ways when they host Wealdstone on Saturday (3pm), are now looking to add to their squad.

Askey said: "We'll bring somebody in, but again we have to make sure it's the right people. The window stays open for us so we don't have to rush too quickly and make rash decisions. Hopefully we can get one or two players in who can step up."