Who could replace Liam Noble in the Hartlepool United team? Liam Kennedy assesses Richard Money's options

This week brought the news that Liam Noble could miss up to SIX weeks with a calf problem.

Thursday, 10th January 2019, 7:17 pm
Updated Thursday, 10th January 2019, 7:24 pm
Mark Kitching could play in a more advanced role for Pools this weekend.

It comes as a bitter blow for Hartlepool United and Richard Money, who are desperate to bounce back from their Maidstone United loss last week with a home victory and FA Trophy progression this.

Money now must decide who to play in his place.

Nicky Featherstone has been out of Richard Money's starting XI recently.

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He's said he's highly unlikely to make changes, unless forced, so it's safe to assume Carl Magnay will continue the midfield anchor role with Josh Hawkes another one of the three in the 4-3-3 system Money likes to deploy.

But will he change the system to compensate for the loss of Noble, or will it be a simple like-for-like?

Here we weigh up the relative merits of the players in the squad available to replace and assess Money's options in the centre of the park ahead of the AFC Telford clash.

Conor Newton

Richard Money sees Ryan Donaldson as a central midfielder long term.

A player who Money knows well, but the midfielder has not really done nearly enough to hold down a regular place in the Pools XI.

If there's a time when Pools need their man to step up it's now and with Noble out this is the perfect opportunity for Newton to stake a lasting claim.

His stature gives the side a bit more physicality in the middle. Also has proven in years gone by he can score goals from midfield.

Paddy McLaughlin

Conor Newton is a player who Richard Money signed when he was at Cambridge United.

This would be the obvious call if Money wants to go for a real like-for-like.

McLaughlin has impressed off the bench recently and scored his first National League goal for Hartlepool against former club Gateshead on New Year's Day.

The fact he's left-footed gives Pools balance in midfield. He's busy and tidy but will need to take some attacking responsibility if he gets the nod with Noble out.

Lewis Hawkins

Paddy McLaughlin scored his first league goal for Pools last week. It was his second goal of the season.

Probably the least likely of any of Pools' midfield group.

Will be allowed to leave this month.

Ryan Donaldson

Money sees Donaldson as a central midfielder, plain and simple.

Long-term he looks to be a player who the manager will build his team around, but at this stage he has been getting a tune out of the former Newcastle United kid out wide. Could well be the case that Donaldson remains as one of the two wide forwards, particularly with Jake Cassidy cup tied.

Nicky Featherstone

Often a player who sits deeper in the midfield, so unless Magnay is taken out, seems unlikely Featherstone will get a run from the the off.

But he did impress in his last start on home turf so that may sway Money's thinking.

Could Featherstone's inclusion free others like Luke James, Donaldson and Hawkes?

Mark Kitching

A left field one but Money has hinted he may throw Kitching into midfield.

Seems to want to play the former Middlesbrough man in a left wing role, but could also operate on the left of a three, if needed.

Kitching coming in would allow for a debut at left-back for new boy Danny Amos, signed on Wednesday on Doncaster Rovers.