Dave Challinor on former Carlisle United midfielder Jason Kennedy's position and future at Hartlepool United after failing to start in three months

It’s been almost three months since Jason Kennedy’s dramatic last gasp winner for Hartlepool United against Yeovil Town – it was also his last start for the club.

Thursday, 2nd January 2020, 5:00 pm
Jason Kennedy of Hartlepool United dejected after the 2-2 draw against Ebbsfleet during the Vanarama National League match between Ebbsfleet United and Hartlepool United at The Cufflink Stadium, Northfleet on Saturday 16th November 2019. (Credit: Leila Coker | MI News)

Despite being available for selection for all but one of the matches since the 2-1 victory over the Glovers in early October, the 33-year-old midfielder has been restricted to just a few brief appearances from the bench under Dave Challinor.

Now he’s been left out of the matchday squad all together while Pools continue to struggle to find form in the National League.

Despite the minimal game time, Challinor was still full of praise for the veteran playmaker.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

“Jason is fine, it’s a really tough one and I had a good conversation with him just before Christmas about what the situation is,” said the United manager.

“He’s a brilliant pro, a great lad and if any of our younger players need any guidance on how to carry themselves as a professional then he is the ultimate professional.

“But what we both agreed on is that I don’t see him as a substitute really as daft as that might sound.

“He’s not an impact type player that you need from the bench.

“He’s one who is unfortunately another midfielder who is similar to the ones we’ve got and that’s the only reason why he’s not been involved.”

Pools have since recruited midfielder Mark Shelton on loan from Salford City which has shifted Kennedy further down the pecking order behind the likes of Nicky Featherstone and Gus Mafuta who have been regular starters under the new manager.

When discussing Kennedy’s future at the club, Challinor added: “I told him I’ll have a conversation in the new year if things continued and he still hadn’t been involved.

“If he’s one who needs to go out to get some games or further down the line then can look after himself then I have no issue with that because he’s been brilliant.”

“As a manager, if you had a squad full of players with his attitude and mentality then it would be a really, really easy job.”