SAM Collins admitted last night was a “hard” debut for new Hartlepool United loanee Matt Crooks.
The versatile 20-year-old was signed yesterday morning from Huddersfield Town in time to make the squad that suffered a 3-1 defeat at Accrington Stanley.
Crooks, who is naturally a midfield player, came on up front for on-loan Middlesbrough striker Charlie Wyke at half-time.
Collins revealed afterwards that Wyke had been suffering from a chest infection and wasn’t well enough to continue.
“Matt is a big, strong lad and he can play in midfield as well,” said Collins.
“Charlie wasn’t very well before the game, that is why we had to take him off.
“It looks like he has a chest infection, but typical Charlie he wants to play and have a go.
“When we came in at half-time he looked dreadful and it wasn’t fair on him to carry on playing.
“Crooksy played for an hour at Huddersfield on Monday before he came here.
“It was hard for him but we didn’t have any other options or choices.
“He has had a good go and had a chance he should have scored from.
“But that is not why we have lost the game.
“We lost because we cannot keep a clean sheet.”
Crooks came through the ranks of his hometown club after a brief stint at Manchester United as a young teenager and Tommy Miller knows him well from his time at Huddersfield.
Although usually deployed in midfield or further forward, Crooks made his Terriers first team debut at centre-back on the opening day of the current campaign.
Previously, Crooks has gained senior experience with loan spells at non-league FC Halifax Town and Radcliffe Borough.
Crooks has been handed squad number 29.
Collins added: “Matt is naturally a midfield player but we thought if we could get good quality up to him it would work well.
“I thought Franksy looked bright and lively when he came on alongside him.
“But it doesn’t matter if we keep giving goals away, we won’t win football matches.”