Dave Jones has hailed the emergence of Hartlepool United’s home-grown players.
The Pools boss made reference to three of the teenage prospects who have come off the club’s conveyor belt and into first team contention – keeper Ryan Catterick, defender Kenton Richardson and midfielder Josh Hawkes.
Richardson has, of course, gone beyond contention – he started the last League Two match, having gone in front of Jordan Richards in the right-back pecking order.
Hawkes has been on the subs bench for the last two games having travelled with the squad to Mansfield Town two Saturdays ago.
Catterick has yet to feature for the senior side but seems to have overtaken number three keeper Ben Dudzinski in the goalkeeper selection order.
Jones admitted the injury situation at the Northern Gas & Power Stadium presented him with problems – keeper Trevor Carson, defenders Carl Magnay and Rob Jones and skipper Billy Paynter have all been long-term absentees while Liam Donnelly and Matthew Bates have been injured in the last two away games.
The latest injury blow was the season-ending knee problem for promising on-loan Sunderland attacker, Andrew Nelson.
“We’ve had a lot of injuries,” said Jones. “When you get a spate of them, long-term like we have, it affects everything else and they are senior players in the main too who would be playing.
“We can’t moan about it, and the kids who have come in have done well.
“Some of them have been involved in the first-team squad too, so it shows they are moving in the right direction too.
“There’s nothing better than local players coming through, the fans like it as it shows things are going in the right way and to have three scholars being involved in the first-team in one season is a good thing.
“Normally you look and expect one to come in, to get three is very positive.”