SCOTT Flinders is facing a minimum of three months on the sidelines after being injured in training.

Hartlepool United will today give Jake Kean his debut after he arrived on loan from Blackburn last week, before Flinders suffered thumb ligament damage.

The number one, who will today sit out his first game since signing in June 2009 when Pools are at Brentford, will have surgery next week and won’t be able to resume training for at least three months.

With Pools’ second choice keeper Andy Rafferty out with a broken finger, youth team keeper Liam Mooney will be on the bench as backup this afternoon.

Wadsworth was disappointed with his side’s defending in last weekend’s home defeat by Exeter.

Pools conceded three goals as they fell to a third successive loss in League One, following defeats to Sheffield Wednesday and MK Dons in previous weeks.

Wadsworth will stick to his 4-5-1 line-up and, after being satisfied with his side’s attacking game seven days ago, he admitted: “Last week, offensively, we were fantastic at times.

“It’s not easy to say that with any conviction, it sounds like bluster and bluff.

“But they played some good football at times last week and the stats pointed to a comfortable victory, but we had three lapses and it cost us three times.

“We had numerous chances, great approach play and had 52 crosses in the game, an incredibly high number for one game, normally 21-22 is a lot.

“We dominated with the ball, but the whole team needs to concentrate on defensive duties and if we can do that I still believe we have a half-decent side.

“We have done hours and hours of defensive work since mid-July. Some weeks, away from home, we have looked more solid than at home. At home you have to chase the game, not so much away.

“Perhaps that’s the reason away from home we have looked more solid and it suits us.

“I want my teams to play winning football but I like to see some style, and that’s been evident at times this season.

“Any good team is built on the solid foundations of a good defence – it’s hard to win 4-3, 3-2 every week.

“We have to work hard to look as solid at home as we do away.

“There are players not involved and no-one is happy not playing. If they were happy I would be sceptical about their personality and character.

“We have a big squad, but I’m not sure if the balance is right.

“If we lose players in key positions it would cost us. If, for example, we lost a centreback, we would be short of cover.

Peter Hartley can play there, as can big Armann, but we would need to shuffle.’’ With no signs of movement on appointing a new manager at the club, Wadsworth remains in charge of the team.

With Micky Barron in charge of the youth team today, and Ritchie Humphreys starting up front, Wadsworth will only have goalkeeping coach Gary Walsh and kit-man Peter Darke for company on the bench.

Humphreys started up front last week and scored against Exeter. This week he was granted a testimonial by the club for his decade of service.

And Wadsworth paid tribute to his striker, admitting: “If you stay at a club for an extended period, three or four years, you must be doing something right or be extremely lucky.

“If you stay for longer, it’s nothing to do with luck, it’s because you have done things well on a consistent basis and been a valuable member of the squad. Ritchie has done that and is a shining example to the young players.

“Everything he does in his life is geared to doing what he needs to get the best out of his ability.

“He’s a student of the game, a consummate pro, he’s learning to be a coach and his testimonial is richly deserved.’’