PORTLAND – Two of the three newest Portland Pirates are expected to be in the lineup this afternoon when they play the Worcester Sharks at the Cumberland County Civic Center.

Left wing Brett Sterling, on loan from the Peoria Rivermen in exchange for Patrick O’Sullivan, and left wing Kenndal McArdle, on loan from the St. John’s IceCaps in exchange for Brock Trotter, will play for the Pirates.

“From everything I’ve heard, everyone will be in town (Saturday) and will be available for (today),” Portland Coach Ray Edwards said.

It is doubtful goalie Peter Mannino, who also came from the IceCaps in the deal for Trotter, will play today.

“It will be pretty tough to put him in without seeing him in net,” Edwards said. “(Justin Pogge) was good (Friday) night, so my guess is we will go back to him (today).”

Edwards said the moves were made to improve the team’s chances in the race for one of the eight playoff spots in the Eastern Conference.

“I think we’ve affected the team in a positive way,” he said. “I think we made ourselves better in the sense that we added some depth in goal, and we added a little bit of toughness and character with McArdle. We lost a really good offensive player (in O’Sullivan) but we were able to get a really good offensive player for him.”

In 26 games with the Pirates, O’Sullivan had 10 goals and 20 assists. In 54 games with the Rivermen, Sterling, who helped the Chicago Wolves win the Calder Cup in 2008, had 22 goals and 26 assists.

The Pirates trail Manchester by three points for the Eastern Conference’s final playoff spot.

“Hopefully, (the players) will understand that from a management standpoint we’re trying to do everything we can to put the right pieces in place for us to have success,” Edwards said.

Portland has 19 games left in the regular season.

Staff Writer Paul Betit can be contacted at 791-6424 or at:

pbetit@pressherald.com

Twitter: PaulBetitPPH