SEASIDERS keeper Lee Jones has a massive opportunity to reignite his Pool career on Saturday when he will start the FA Cup showdown at Oldham.
After establishing himself as the club's no.1, Jones suffered a nasty hip injury and has been out of action since the start of October, missing 12 consecutive games.
Since then, Brad Jones has arrived from Middlesbrough and risen to the top of the pecking order.
But with the Premiership keeper not allowed to feature in the Cup and Phil Barnes transfer-listed, 33-year-old Jones will step back into the breach at Boundary Park.
It's not just a test of his skills but also an indication of how his injury is progressing. If Jones breaks down he may require the same surgery Roy Keane underwent to repair his hip.
"The injury started two months ago in my groin, then it was diagnosed as the hip," explained Jones. "At the moment the injections I'm having seem to be working. I've been taking them for the last three weeks and there's been no reaction.
"It's a bit stiff because I've been out for so long, but the reserve match I played last week went well and I'm looking forward to Saturday and hoping it goes well."
Regardless of what happens at the weekend, Jones, signed from Stockport in August, recognises he faces a fight to retain the no.1 jersey. "There are three good goalkeepers at the club battling for one shirt," he said.
"Brad has come in and done very well, kept a few clean sheets. It's good for him and good for the club.
"It's up to the manager who gets the nod on Saturday but I'm just hoping to play and give the boss a headache.
"For a goalkeeper, once you get in the nets you just have to try and stay there. If I do well, it gives the manager a problem but a good one."
• FORMER Pool star Clarke Carlisle has been named Umbro Isotonic Division Two player of the month. The defender, 24, has made a fine return to the QPR side after spending a month in a clinic fighting alcoholism.