Ex-Swansea defender Alan Tate could be answer for Hartlepool United if Magnus Okuonghae returns to Luton

Magnus Okuonghae. Picture by FRANK REID
Magnus Okuonghae. Picture by FRANK REID

Alan Tate could be the solution to Hartlepool United’s defensive problem, if and when Magnus Okuonghae returns to Luton Town.

Pools boss Ronnie Moore pulled the proverbial rabbit out of the hat when he brought in the giant centre-half on a month’s loan.

He’s a David Mirfin-type – he looks like Mirf, moves like Mirf.

RONNIE MOORE

Moore hoped he could twist Luton boss John Still’s arm to extend the arrangement.

But the Hatters have allowed experienced defender Steve McNulty to join Tranmere on loan with a view to a permanent deal, leaving the Kenilworth Road side short of a centre-half.

Moore explained that Harry Worley, a highly-rated centre-half he signed in the summer, would be missing for the long-term with an ankle injury.

That means the Pools manager will continue to look for an experienced defender.

But there is, potentially, an answer under his very nose.

Tate, who played in the reserve-team win at Rotherham earlier this month, is training with Pools at Maiden Castle following his release from Swansea City in the summer.

The 33-year-old, from Easington, is available and ticks all the boxes Moore wants from his central defenders.

“Tatey is here, but he has not had a lot of games,” said Moore.

“Basically he’s here so we can have a real good look at him. He’s a David Mirfin-type – he looks like Mirf, moves like Mirf.

“At the moment, he needs that bit of fitness. You are never going to get him to be the quickest player in the world.

“But he has so much experience and know-how.

“If Mags does go back, we have a month to get some fitness work done on him.”

Moore brought in Okuonghae on loan on the eve of last Saturday’s match at Dagenham & Redbridge.

He was outstanding in the 1-0 win at Victoria Road and then made his home debut on Tuesday night in the 1-1 draw with Barnet.

The loan deal was designed to assist both Pools and Luton – to seal up what had become a leaky United backline while getting the defender fit following an Achilles injury so he can return match-sharp to the Hatters.

McNulty’s move to Tranmere, believed to be for family reasons, mean Okuonghae will almost certainly NOT staying beyond a month’s duration.

“Magnus is here for 30 days, but it can change after that, there’s no doubt about that,” said Moore.

“We would obviously like to keep him, but the whole idea was for him to come for a month to get games.

“That McNulty situation means he probably will go back now.

“But in the meantime, it’s took us how long to find him?

“Now we have to keep looking while he’s here. But we’ve looked and knocked at so many doors, we’re going to find it really difficult to find someone.”

Moore said he would lean on Luton boss John Still but accepted the Hatters boss would probably want the Londoner back at Kenilworth Road.

“I get on well with Stilly,” he said.

“I think he hoped McNulty would stay to the end of the season – now he’s a centre-half short and he has to look after his club.

“I don’t know if he may be could get someone else in?

“May be he can find someone where I couldn’t – he may have bigger stones down there to look under.

“It’s difficult, fingers crossed, I hope we can keep him.”