Analysis: FIVE things we learned from Hartlepool United's Leyton Orient victory
A goal behind, away from home, the Hartlepool United of a few weeks ago would have struggled to muster a point, never mind three.
But this lot are, game-by-game, proving every one of their early-season doubters wrong.
Another win, their fourth in five National League fixtures, recorded at Leyton Orient further underlines their fifth-tier credentials, even if the manager and the players won’t build up people’s expectations too much.
So, what did we learn from the weekend? Here’s FIVE things Liam Kennedy thinks Poolies can be positive about looking ahead to next weekend’s visit of Eastleigh.
Oates is a goer
Rhys Oates just seems to get better and better every time I see him.
He seems to be a player who divides opinion among the Pools faithful, but to me he’s just a lad who gives his absolute all, has pace to burn and chips in with a goal or two, too.
Pools might be lacking a striker of experience in the frontline but they certainly have a player who the manager will find hard to drop, if and when the new frontman comes through the doors at the Vic.
Stick with Devs
Nicky Deverdics is a remarkably talented player. Sadly, though, he is no left-back.
Examples a plenty were flagged up on Saturday. Defensively he was very suspect but when asked to deliver he conjured up the winner for Oates.
This boy is just too good not to become a key player for Pools at this level. Finding a way of incorporating him into the side, much further up the park is something the manager gets paid a lot more than me to workout. It will not be easy, though.
I’m sure that if it doesn’t work out long-term, there will be National League sides queuing up to take him next summer.
Familiarity paying dividends
Manager Craig Harrison brought Conor Newton and Jack Munns with the undoubted intention of reshaping Pools midfield of last season.
But here we are almost a dozen games down in the National League and Michael Woods, Lewis Hawkins and Nicky Featherstone hold the spots in the engine-room.
Maybe it’s that they know each other inside out that works so well, maybe it’s just that they’re better players. Who knows?
One thing I am sure of is that Newton’s time at Pools will come.
This game was maybe a bit of a learning curve for Pools defender Michael Ledger, who was put under immense pressure in the early stages, Keith Watson, impressive in recent weeks, was also opened up too often in the first 45.
But as the game wore on the pair were imperious - winning every challenge, aerial dual, making blocks and organising those in front of them.
Should Watson’s injury be serious Pools will be forced into a defensive reshuffle, with Louis Laing likely to come back in. When Pools are playing so well, change is the last thing they desire.
Loach a leader on and off the park
When Trevor Carson walked out the door in the summer who’d have thought Pools could have replaced him?
I can’t imagine many thought Harrison would pull an upgrade out the hat, but he definitely has.
A leader on and off the park. Quality influence in the dressing-room and never puts a foot wrong when he crosses the white line.
Pools have bagged a gem with the former Watford man.