Rhys races Rach

Paul Rachubka or Rhys Evans will take over in goal for Sunday's first play-off semi-final at Oldham.

Both Pool's injured keepers are responding to treatment and are quietly confident of being fit for the big clash.

And that would mean emergency signing Joe Hart has played his last game for Pool.

Hart has to return to Manchester City because he is only allowed to stay at Bloomfield Road as long as the Seasiders have no fit keeper.

Rachubka is hopeful of passing a fitness test after his hamstring injury.

Hernia

Evans has also progressed well after a hernia operation and has resumed training.

However, he is yet to kick a ball at full strength – that is when his recovery will be fully tested.

Third-choice keeper Lewis Edge is definitely out, though. The ligament and soft tissue damage he suffered in his hand over Easter won't have healed until the end of the month.

Manager Simon Grayson said: "We are monitoring the situation on a daily basis and we'll see where we are by the end of the week."

With Ben Burgess back in training, Pool's injury problems are clearing at just the right moment.

They are certainly better off than Oldham, who today revealed that they are sweating over the fitness of BOTH first-choice strikers.

It was widely known that Chris Porter is struggling with a knee injury but it has now been revealed that fellow frontman Paul Warne has his arm in a sling after falling awkwardly in Saturday's win over Chesterfield.

The pair have hit 34 goals between them this season to secure Oldham's sixth-placed finish.

"It would be a big blow to lose the two of them," admitted Latics assistant boss Tommy Wright.

"It would be like Scunthorpe losing Billy Sharp or Leon Constantine not being able to play for Port Vale. They are that important to us."

Meanwhile, Oldham have extended their loan deals with Luigi Glombard and Miki Roque.

Glombard, a striker from Cardiff, has made eight appearances and scored once. 18-year-old Liverpool defender Roque has made four appearances. Both men are expected to be on the bench on Sunday.

All of Blackpool's loan players – Simon Gillett, Wes Hoolahan, Rachubka, Robbie Williams and the suspended Chris Brandon – will remain at the club until the play-off campaign is over.

n THE referees for Pool's play-off matches have been announced.

Iain Williamson from Berkshire will be in the middle for the first leg, with Gloucestershire's Lee Probert in charge at Bloomfield Road.

steve.canavan@

blackpoolgazette. co.uk