Ins and Outs


Much like the first time I saw Gav Holohan, when I saw Peter Kioso play for Pools I instantly thought this lad is a footballer and had the potential, as indeed he has done, to go further.

It was no surprise when a higher-league club in the form of Luton Town made an offer to Pools which was quickly accepted. Kioso was out of contract at the end of the season and has moved to, for the time being at least, a Championship club. He is back on his home turf and no doubt will have a larger pay packet than he had at Pools. Luton for their efforts have picked themselves up an excellent prospect and if reports are to be believed Pools have picked up in excess of £100k. A win-win situation all round.

More surprisingly and literally 'out of the blue' was the transfer of Nicke Kabamba to Kilmarnock. I had him down as one who would be let go at the end of the season or at best kept on as a squad player. No one could fault the lad's work rate, but for me he was not instinctive enough in front of goal. Some, I hear them, may say "Well, he is banging them in for fun in the Scottish Premiership." My answer to that would be, as with Nico Muir who has signed for and scored on his debut for the mighty Hampton and Richmond Borough, that they are now playing at a level that suits them. No one can convince me, debate and discuss, that the Scottish Premiership is very much better than the National League.

It was reported that Kilmarnock paid a 'substantial' fee for the player. I have heard the figures of £50-60k and even 80k bandied about. Notwithstanding if Pools had received only £5-10k for him I would have been satisfied with it being a very good piece of business. In any event, here's wishing the lad well.

In addition to Kioso and Kabamba's departures in recent weeks we have seen numerous other players go out on loan, mainly because they are unable to command a first team place, are likely to leave at the end of the season or are just seeking game time. I am thinking of the likes of Muir, Kennedy, Catterick and Bale. Rumours have it that York expressed an interest in taking Fraser Kerr but as the player is out injured it would seem unlikely. Crichlow-Noble was also allowed to return to his parent club Huddersfield.

In the sick bay Pools have several players out injured: Andy Carroll - sorry, I meant Luke Williams - James, Cunningham, Raynes and the previously-mentioned Kerr. Then there are the players who are out of form or coming back from injury: Hawkes, Molyneux, Richardson and Killip.

One only has to look at the starting line-up of the team Pools fielded for the opening game of the season in August against Sutton United and compare it to the team that played Barnet some five months later.

Pools v Sutton: Killip, Richardson (Featherstone 70), Kerr, Raynes, Crichlow-Noble (Kitching 80), Mafuta, Kennedy, Noble, Touré (Holohan 83), James, Kabamba. Subs Not Used: Bale, Cunningham.

Pools v Barnet: Beeney, Southam-Hales, Liddle, Odusina, Kitching, Featherstone (Molyneux 84), Holohan (s/o 48), Shelton (Hawkes 87), Touré, Keena (Harker 51). Subs not used: Richardson, Mafuta, Hawkes.

As can be seen, with the odd exception they are almost two totally different starting squads.

Dave Challinor is no doubt keeping one eye on the future as seven of the players in the the squad against Barnet last week are his signings and understandably he wants to put his own stamp/mark on the squad. Whilst there is still the slightest chance of snatching a play-off place, that has got to be his number one task.

His second task, which I am sure is already in hand, is planning ahead for the 2020/21 season. Obviously a lot will depend on what league Pools will be in.
"... he must now know who the movers and shakers are within the dressing room, that is, the ones he needs to MOVE on and the ones who really need a good SHAKING!"

Having been in charge of the club for the best part of three months he must now know who the movers and shakers are within the dressing room, that is, the ones he needs to MOVE on and the ones who really need a good SHAKING!

Excluding loanees, how many players will he ship out? Myself, I would only keep half a dozen of the existing squad and bring in some fresh blood.

It would be interesting to see how many of the players that he currently has in on loan could be offered a permanent move. Challinor seems to have a lot of contacts with clubs in the north west of the country. The irony is that some of the players that he has brought in, like Shelton and Southam-Hales, are now playing in front of bigger crowds than those of their parent clubs, who are in the Football League. For the record, I noted that Pools' home gate against Stockport was not only the highest in the National League on the day but also better than nine Football League clubs.

Whatever league we are in next season, a good goalkeeper has to be at the top of Dave Challinor's shopping list. I was surprised that he is looking at offering Beeney a full-time contract until the end of the season as in truth he is not any improvement on the existing number one, Ben Killip. Having a good keeper who inspires those in front of him could be worth ten points a season. Every bit as important as having a free-scoring centre forward in the same side.

It is almost like going back to Chris Turner's time at the club when we had Jan Budtz and Arran Lee Barrett competing for the number one shirt. Owing to howlers and epic errors that manager had to drop one of them almost on a weekly basis in favour of the other. From the fans' viewpoint it was a case of when one of them was playing you wished that it was the other who was between the sticks on the day. Much the case with Killip and Beeney in my view. In truth, the last decent keeper that we had at the Vic was Trevor Carson.

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