Dave Challinor admits his surprise as Hartlepool United sign Stockport County striker

Dave Challinor has revealed his surprise that Hartlepool United were able to land Stockport County striker Richie Bennett on loan.

Sunday, 4th April 2021, 4:45 pm

Pools swooped to sign the striker on loan from their play-off rivals ahead of the Good Friday Dagenham & Redbridge National League clash, which Pools won 2-1 and Bennett came off the bench at The Vic to make his Pools debut.

Bennett arrived on a loan deal until the end of the season, though Stockport do have a recall option after 28 days.

Reflecting on the arrival of Bennett, Challinor said: “I was a little bit [surprised] but a new manager came in and they’ve got a big squad now so for Richie in his position, he’s an experienced player, 30-years old and had been playing regularly.

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Pools boss Dave Challinor.
Pools boss Dave Challinor.

"He wanted to continue playing football and no doubt, if there had been a better option for Stockport to send him somewhere else or if Richie wasn’t insistent on coming to us then they might have looked at something different.

"From our perspective, it gives us an option, regardless of how long it’s for but we always have the backdrop that he could be recalled in 28 days but when the registration deadline comes closer we’ll look at other options.

"We’ve got six loans in now and we can only have five in our matchday squad so we’ll cover those basis.

"It came to a point where short term was a priority so I’m sure he’ll be a big plus for us.

"He showed little bits of what he can do and he’ll get us up the pitch.

"Whether it’ll be chasing games and having to go more direct or playing into him because he’s not just a whack it up to me player, his link-up play is really good. Whoever we have up there, they’ll be a big threat.”

Challinor added: “For me, his arrival allows us to have different combinations.

"To take Luke out of the limelight a little bit even though he loves playing every minute and getting goals, there are signs that we need to have that luxury to take him off and give him 20-minutes here and there to protect him.

"He’s played virtually every minute since he’s been here but Richie will help us at the top end of the pitch and provide the quality to link the play up really well.”

Pools are well placed in the promotion chase, second behind league leaders Sutton United. Just two points separates the sides but Sutton have three games in hand on Pools ahead of the next round of fixtures Monday.

Ahead of the Easter Monday trip to Boreham Wood, Challinor said: “It’s not a super quick turnaround to be fair, just like a normal Saturday-Tuesday game just playing earlier.

"The lads will be off Saturday and anyone who’s feeling anything can come and see Buster.

"We’ll travel down Sunday, train on the way down and look at Boreham Wood and their past few games and look at where we can potentially hurt them.”

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