Rochdale goalkeeper Jake Kean is expected to return to the starting line-up against his former club Hartlepool.

Kean, on loan from Blackburn, spent the first half of last season at Victoria Park and should return after making way for David Lucas in the midweek Carling Cup win at QPR.

Defender Neal Trotman will return to contention after serving a one-game ban and manager Steve Eyre must decide whether to recall the summer signing from Preston or stick with Pim Balkestein in central defence.

Dutchman Balkestein made his first start for Dale at QPR following his recent arrival on loan from Brentford.

Midfielder Brian Barry-Murphy returned to full training this week following his knee injury and could be included in the squad for the first time this season.

Hartlepool midfielder Gary Liddle could return to action with the aid of a protective face mask.

Liddle has recently had surgery to repair a fractured cheekbone sustained in the opening seconds of the draw at Walsall earlier this month and has missed the last two matches.

But the 25-year-old returned to full training this week and first-team coach Mick Wadsworth is expected to include him in the squad.

Fellow midfielders Antony Sweeney (groin) and Nolberto Solano (hamstring) also returned to full training this week but will play no part in the clash at Spotland.

Another midfielder, Nathan Luscombe, sits out the final game of his three-match ban, so Ritchie Humphreys and Paul Murray look set to continue, while striker Colin Larkin is expected to retain his place.

Wadsworth has no new injury or suspension problems as Pools look to extend their unbeaten run and register their first win of the season.

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