Neal Ardley says new signing Adam Long will be a vital addition to our playing staff.
The 19-year-old signed on an initial one-month loan from Wigan on Thursday to combat the injury problems across our backline.
And Ardley says the defender has been well-recommended.
“He trains with Wigan’s first team regularly and is highly-rated by Paul Cook and all the staff I know in their academy,” said the boss.
“Lots of research has been done and he was top of the list in many ways – the only way he wasn’t was experience, but he was by far the pick of the younger players.
“Adam’s a big, strong lad. He’s six foot three, left-sided and one of the quickest players in Wigan’s squad.
“With Pierce Bird suspended in the FA Trophy, he’s a necessity for numbers, height and strength, which makes him a vital addition to our squad.
“It’s been three or four weeks of work to get to this point and we’re delighted to get him.”
Long might be called upon to deputise for Alex Lacey, who missed out last week with a hip injury and may not be ready to return at Hartlepool on Saturday.
“Alex joined in training today but only for part of it so we’re still unsure on him,” Ardley revealed on Thursday.
“There’s something there. We’ve had his hip scanned and don’t think there’s any danger of losing him for a long time which is why we were happy for him to train.
“We’ll have another look tomorrow and maybe even Saturday morning before we make any decisions on the line-up.”
Elsewhere, we’ll welcome skipper Michael Doyle back from suspension but we’ll have to wait a little longer for a handful of others to return.
“Having Doyle back is crucial because he’s the captain, a good player and a body at a time when we need them,” said Ardley.
“Hopefully over the next couple of weeks we get everyone fit and then I’ll have problems selecting a 16-man squad.
“Damien McCrory is the first one we’re looking at because his injury is the closest to healing and then we’ll welcome Wes Thomas back from suspension next weekend.
“Then you start looking at Ben Turner, Sam Slocombe and Zoumana Bakayogo, who will be a bit slower returning and that’s the reason for the reinforcements.
“Regan Booty is back out on the pitch and running again so we’re going to start building him up slowly.”