THERE’S no masking Mick Wadsworth’s admiration of midfield warrior Gary Liddle.
And that is why the manager is delighted he’s still at the football club.
The 25-year-old will return to the side for tomorrow’s trip to Rochdale with the aid of a protective face mask having undergone surgery on a fractured cheekbone just last week.
Wadsworth feared being without Liddle for the bulk of the early part of the season in the wake of the double fracture suffered against Walsall a fortnight ago.
But that didn’t compare to the fear of losing one of his most influential players for good following the breakdown of contract talks during the summer.
The club, though, exercised an option to extend his stay by one season, much to the relief of Wadsworth.
And the Pools boss told SportMail: “We were very keen to keep Gary and he is here for at least a year and I hope he is here longer.
“But only time will dictate that – and how he performs, of course.
“If he performs well this season then it spurs us on but it could alert others as well.
“But I like Gary very much and he did very well last year, he is versatile and full of energy.
“He can play at right-back, in the middle of the back four and across the midfield and that’s invaluable.
“So obviously I’m pleased he’s here and he’s done fantastic while I’ve been at the club.”
SEE Friday’s Mail for full story