Notts County’s Liddle hopes old club Hartlepool Utd beat the drop

Gary Liddle points to the Pools fans in celebration as he scores Pools second goal of the game to make the score 3-2. Picture by FRANK REID

Gary Liddle points to the Pools fans in celebration as he scores Pools second goal of the game to make the score 3-2. Picture by FRANK REID

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GARY Liddle admits that the plight of his former club is a source of sadness.

The 26-year-old ended a six-year association with Pools in the summer when, with his contract expired, he signed for Notts County on a free transfer.

He returns to Victoria Park for the first time tomorrow with The Magpies.

They are in the hunt for a play-off berth and were 2-0 winners at Portsmouth on Tuesday, a result which takes them to ninth in League One.

While Pools were also victors at Fratton Park in their last outing, it was a win which took them to within 10 points of safety.

And Liddle says he is desperate to see them escape their position at the foot of the table.

“It’s been disappointing to see what has happened with Pools this season,” he told SportMail.

“It’s the first result I look for and I still speak to quite a few of the lads.

“On paper you’d say it’s going to be tough for them.

“But I spoke with a couple of the lads this week and they say things have picked up under the new manager.

“They’ve got a new style of play and the lads say it suits them.

“So that’s good to hear because I really hope they can get out of it.”

Liddle is sure to be afforded a good reception by the home crowd, although he is taking nothing for granted.

“I hope I get a good reception,” he laughed.

“I’ve always had a good relationship with the Pools fans and I hope they understand my reasons for leaving.

“I just wanted to try something new in life, a new club and a new city.

“And I’ve got to say I’ve loved every minute of it.”

Indeed, Liddle is yet to miss a minute of League One action under Keith Curle.

And, barring 10 minutes in the first game of the season, every second has come at centre-back.

“It’s funny that we spent so much time at Pools talking about my best position and I came to Notts County as a central-midfielder,” he said.

“But after 10 minutes of the first game of the season we got an injury and I went in at the back – I’ve been there ever since.

“I love it though and I’ve got a great partnership with Dean Leacock.”

He went on: “The team has picked up again recently and we’re back on track for the play-offs – this is another important game for us.

“So from 10 to five tomorrow afternoon I’ll be wishing Pools all the best for the rest of the season!”