Hartlepool United boss Dave Jones is keeping his options open regarding positional switches

Dave Jones is not ruling out any further positional switches for Hartlepool United's players.

Saturday, 4th March 2017, 6:00 am
Updated Friday, 24th March 2017, 10:25 am
Hartlepool Uniteds Lewis Alessandra.

Pools continue their run-in to the end of the season with a crunch game today with Exeter City at the Northern Gas & Power Stadium.

Jones will select a midfielder at the heart of the defence and a forward in midfield against the Grecians in a match vital at both ends of League Two.

Brad Walker will make his fourth start alongside Scott Harrison at the back with Lewis Alessandra doing likewise in the centre of the park.

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Walker has been outstanding every time while Alessandra has made his move seamlessly, scoring twice in the midweek 4-0 beating of Crewe Alexandra.

“Brad has taken to centre-back like a duck to water,” said Jones.

“With Lewis, he can go wide, up front or stay where he is.

“We might move him back up front, I don’t know.

“We are looking at all different options to give us the edge.

“Young Rhys Oates has done really well, he’s playing out of position [as a wide striker], he’s an out and out centre-forward.

“We have to use what we’ve got.

“From now until the end of the season there might be other players we change position.

“Liam [Donnelly] at left-back was comfortable, so we know we have a player there that can go left or right-back or centre-back of needed.

“We have different options but we’ll pick a team that we think will get us a result.”

Alessandra, a summer signing from Rochdale, has played in advanced positions all season, though his brace against Crewe were his first goals since the 2-0 win over Cheltenham in November.

Jones saw the 28-year-old as key to the victory over Alex.

“We played in front of Crewe in the first half, no-one was getting beyond them, until Lewis scored,” said the manager.

“We need to get more people in the box, that’s what we did in the second half.

“When Lewis scored our third goal I think we’d had three shots before we scored.

“It shows we are getting bodies in the right areas.”

The result was the first time Pools had won by that margin at the Vic since a 4-0 romp against Bristol Rovers under Colin Cooper in March 2014.

“It was good for confidence,” said Jones.

“It’s been a long time too since the last time this club scored four goals and kept a clean sheet and won at home – four years is far too long.

“If it happened every week I would be abundant with joy, but I’m happy with 1-0s – it’s points we are chasing and points we need.”