Dave Challinor hails ‘brilliant impact’ of Hartlepool United teenager on injury return against Northampton Town

It’s been a difficult 2021 for Hartlepool United’s teenage forward Joe Grey, but things are now looking bright.
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After over half a year out with a fracture in his back, Grey returned as a substitute for Pools last month before being rested again as a precaution.

But Saturday’s 2-1 win over Northampton Town saw the 18-year-old be one of the side’s difference makers as he came off the bench to assist Luke Molyneux’s late-winner.

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A deep cross from the left brilliantly found Pools’ number 10 to volley the ball into the back of the net.

Dave Challinor and Joe Grey.Dave Challinor and Joe Grey.
Dave Challinor and Joe Grey.

And manager Dave Challinor is delighted with the progress and impact Grey has been able to make after suffering a serious injury so early into his playing career.

“He made a brilliant impact,” admitted the Pools boss. “That’s why we’ve been so careful with his rehab because we hope he can have a really good impact for us.

"He’s a really young player but we’ve got really high hopes for him and he’s got really high hopes for himself.

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"He’ll be disappointed he’s not scored because he had a good opportunity which was similar to the one Mols scored. He cut inside, produced a brilliant ball and it’s a brilliant finish from Mols.

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"He’s had the impact you want your subs to have. We’ve got to make sure we manage him properly now and build him up to being a real 90-minute player for us because we’ve got real belief that he has a bright future not just with us, but further down the line.

"For people who last saw him six months ago, he’s different in his shape and he’s becoming more what we want him to become physically and more robust so he can be an effective player in the Football League which for an 18-year-old is a accolade to have.

"We put a lot of hope and responsibility into Joe and he's a young player but a brilliant player who has been a big miss for us. He's got quality and you can see that from the half hour he played, we just need to turn him from a player who can start three games to one who can start 30 over a season.”

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