Dave Challinor explains why former Sunderland winger Luke Molyneux hasn't been starting for Hartlepool United and hints at change for Stockport County play-off trip
Luke Molyneux has started just 15 out of a possible 43 league and play-off games for Hartlepool United in 2020-21.
After enduring an injury hit first full season at Pools, expectations were high for Molyneux to deliver following a strong end to the 2019-20 campaign.
But following an untimely positive coronavirus test just weeks before the start of the season, the 23-year-old’s campaign has been a disjointed one.
There have been still been several impressive displays from the winger, who scored crucial goals in wins at Yeovil Town and Torquay United during the regular season.
Molyneux is out of contract at Victoria Park this summer and is understood to have attracted some Football League interest despite his lack of game time.
He has started just one of Pools’ last 10 matches and was left out entirely of the crucial play-off eliminator win over Bromley on Sunday.
Manager Dave Challinor insisted there have been no concerns over Molyneux’s fitness, rather his flexibility to fit into Pools’ 3-5-2 formation.
“He’s fine and I apologised to the players who weren’t involved,” Challinor told The Mail.
“You have to try and look at how potentially a game might go and we felt a threat in behind using a front two was probably how we envisaged we might get joy opposed to potentially changing our shape which is what we’d have to do with Mols.
"He’s pretty adamant in the position he wants to play and he needs to be more flexible because he shoe boxes himself a little bit – he’s better than that.
"There are a few others who aren’t as effective in the formation we play and are victims of the success we’ve had with it.
"You need to be adaptable around what we do and I have no doubt that he can play in positions in the system we play where he can be effective but we’ve just got to work with him a little bit more mentally more than anything else to allow him to do that and believe in what he has.
"You have to try and preempt how the game might go and whether that’s an optimistic or pessimistic view, you try and pick a 16 that hopefully can help win us the game. That 16 may potentially change at Stockport.”