Starting Eleven


BILLY'S CONTRACT


Could it be that, rotation aside, Dave Challinor is now in the final throes of putting his pieces into place and finally getting his first-choice starting eleven together?

Since the start of the season, whether due to a heavy fixture schedule, inexperience, loss of form, no form or injuries, it is rare that Pools have fielded the same starting eleven on more than two consecutive occasions. This has been not only a problem for the manager but for the players themselves who have to adapt to playing with someone different each week.

Dave Challinor has used more than two dozen different players in all competitions this season. It would appear that, as we no longer possess a reserve side, he is trying to assess some of his squad by thrusting them into the first team to see if they can perform ...or not. The other problem Challinor has by not having a reserve side is keeping those squad players who are out of the picture fit.

He said as much after the Trophy match with Halifax - that a number of the players tired towards the latter stages of that game. Certainly the likes of Crawford, Bloomfield, Ofosu and a semi-fit Luke Williams need game time.
"It would appear that, as we no longer possess a reserve side, he is trying to assess some of his squad by thrusting them into the first team to see if they can perform ...or not."

I am surprised that Pools have not been in touch with other clubs in the North East who have free weekends because they, like Pools, no longer have an interest in the cup competitions, or because their matches are postponed, perhaps owing to waterlogged pitches. These matches could be played at the Vic. I note that Darlo, York and Spennymoor have had free weekends of late and they would have all provided a reasonable work-out for the Pools fringe players as well as their own.

The signing of Luke Armstrong has been key to Pools' resurgence; at last we have a proper centre forward, one who runs his socks off, chases and harries, is physical and knows exactly where the goal is. If only we had had the likes of him sooner. To get him on loan until the end of the season was a masterstroke. Let's hope he stays injury free.

My pick of the bunch so far this season are Nicky Featherstone, Gav Holohan and obviously Luke Armstrong.

A special mention for Rhys Oates. I have to say that I was underwhelmed when he re-signed for the club but in the last three matches (Halifax, Stockport and Notts County), he has been a different class. Two goals and an assist, and no one else in the side covers the yards as he does. I have often wondered how many times he has played a full 90 minutes for Pools or Morecambe as he is either subbed or comes on as a sub. Any Stattos out there who could furnish me with that information?