Hartlepool Utd keeper will have new centre-half pair for Sheffield Utd visit

Scott Flinders
Scott Flinders
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SCOTT Flinders will have a new-look centre-back pairing in front of him tonight – but the goalkeeper is at a loss to explain the demise of his usually-dependable rearguard.

Pools recorded 14 clean sheets last term with the cornerstone of their relative success being the defensive unit.

But this campaign has been an altogether different story and Neale Cooper’s men have already shipped 20 goals.

Skipper Sam Collins and Peter Hartley came in for criticism from their boss following Saturday’s 3-1 collapse at Colchester United, and one of them will be axed for this evening’s visit of Sheffield United.

Flinders was one of the few to emerge with any credit from the weekend and his form has, on the large part, been consistent this season.

But the Pools No.1 admits that those in front of him are struggling for confidence.

“We conceded two quick goals again on Saturday after taking the lead and I think it’s a confidence thing,” he told SportMail.

“Micky Barron has brought out the stats with regards to conceding and it’s not good reading.

“It’s down to mistakes, collectively and individually.

“We have spoken about it and said it’s got to come to an end, but it’s still not happened.

“Last season we kept a lot of clean sheets, so we can do it, we have proved that.

“We are the same settled unit at the back and know each other’s game inside out, it must be a confidence thing.”

Tonight’s game takes on added spice for Flinders – a childhood Sheffield Wednesday fan – but he believes it is the ideal test for Pools at this moment in time.

“It will be a hard one, but one we will look forward to,” he went on.

“Sometimes you need a tough game like that when you are playing against a good team.

“We do tend to play well against the good sides on home turf.

“I’ll maybe have one or two mates in the away end giving me grief, but I’ve been in the game long enough now to know what to expect.

“But we just need to concentrate on putting Saturday’s performance to rest with a response against what will be a very good side.”