Dave Challinor assesses Aidan Keena's Hartlepool United debut at Yeovil Town

Over a week after signing for Hartlepool United, Aidan Keena finally made his debut at Yeovil Town on Saturday afternoon.

Tuesday, 21st January 2020, 11:45 am
Aidan Keena of Hartlepool United during the Vanarama National League match between Yeovil Town and Hartlepool United at Huish Park, Yeovil on Saturday 18th January 2020. (Credit: Paul Paxford | MI News & Sport)

Keena’s international clearance came through ahead of the game which allowed the 20-year-old to start his first game in English football since arriving from Scottish Premiership side Hearts earlier this month.

The sale of Nicke Kabamba to Kilmarnock ahead of Pools’ match at Huish Park meant Keena would be deployed as a lone striker for his debut.

Chances were few and far between in the game for the new Hartlepool striker as goals from Peter Kioso and Gus Mafuta saw them secure a 2-2 draw against the National League high-flyers.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

On Keena’s performance, Challinor said: “Aidan worked hard, it’s been tough for him because he’s been chomping at the bit to get involved.

“The system we played, we wanted to try and get Gav [Holohan] close to him which wasn’t really the case in the first half because I thought we were a bit short with the ball and with those two we’ve got two willing runners.”

Despite Keena’s quiet debut, Challinor has backed the youngster to deliver at Hartlepool in time.

“He’ll score goals because he’ll back himself, get himself in good areas and shoot,” said the Pools manager.

“He wants to learn and be a finisher, the game on Saturday will only benefit him and those are the first competitive minutes he’s had in a bit of time so he will only get better.”