Dave Challinor challenges former Sunderland winger Luke Molyneux to be Hartlepool United's difference maker following goal at Torquay United

Dave Challinor has challenged Luke Molyneux to be Hartlepool United’s difference maker following the winger’s match-winning display at Torquay United.

Monday, 8th March 2021, 6:00 am

The 22-year-old netted his first goal since November as Pools kept the pressure on at the top of the National League table with a 1-0 win over the league leaders.

Illness, injury and suspension has limited Molyneux to just nine league starts for Hartlepool so far this season as his impact has been limited.

Pools’ success playing a 3-5-2 formation in the winger’s absence meant it was difficult for him to naturally regain a place in the starting line-up.

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Luke Molyneux of Hartlepool United during the Vanarama National League match between Hartlepool United and Torquay United at Victoria Park, Hartlepool on Saturday 31st October 2020. (Credit: Mark Fletcher | MI News)
Luke Molyneux of Hartlepool United during the Vanarama National League match between Hartlepool United and Torquay United at Victoria Park, Hartlepool on Saturday 31st October 2020. (Credit: Mark Fletcher | MI News)

But Challinor’s decision to change his side’s shape in attack at Plainmoor helped Molyneux slot in and reap the rewards with a well taken goal.

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“We tweaked our set-up a little bit so we could play three at the top end of the pitch,” the Hartlepool manager told The Mail.

“We thought we could sit in and be a threat on the counter when you’ve got Oatesy’s [Rhys Oates’] pace and Mols dribbling ability on either side.

"Mols has had a tough time this season, he’s the one player whose had Covid, granted it was at the start of the season but he then had a niggle which kept him out then he got himself sent off at Weymouth which lasted a lot longer that it should have due to games being called off.

"So he was short of a little bit of fitness and although he’s been topped up well through training, he hasn’t had games.

"He ran himself into the deck on Tuesday night for 60-minutes at Halifax and has done the same on Saturday, getting himself closer to 90-minutes.

"We’ve spoken to him about how, for a player of his ability he needs to be that difference maker, adding more goals and assists to his game.

"I’ve said previously he should be targeting double figures in both for the quality he has.

"Saturday and helped make the difference for us on Saturday with his winning goal. Hopefully it can be the start of him being able to put a run together for us.”

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