Hartlepool's teenage defender Jack Baldwin has given the club a big boost by returning to action way ahead of schedule following a knee injury.

Pools feared Baldwin could be ruled out for the rest of the season when scans confirmed he had damaged medial ligaments in the goalless home draw with Colchester earlier this month.

But the 19-year-old, operating in a midfield role in the weeks leading up to his injury, returned to full training this week and is scheduled for a run out with the reserves on Wednesday.

"Jack has worked ever so hard with Buster (physio Ian Gallagher) and Ryan (Carmody) to get himself back to fitness and trained well on Tuesday," Micky Barron told the club's official website.

"It was an intense session so I expect we'll try and get 45 minutes out of him and take it from there, but it's brilliant to have him back.

"He has to take a lot of credit for the way he's worked on things and the medical staff have worked wonders on him."

Pools goalkeeper Andy Rafferty is expected to return to action in the same match for the first time since undergoing summer knee surgery.

"It's a big boost having the players back from injury," added Barron. "We told Andy he would be playing and obviously he was like a kid in a sweet shop because he's so excited to get back out there."