Dave Challinor on Hartlepool United's best XI and which key player the side are missing

Over two months into his role as Hartlepool United manager and Dave Challinor is still struggling to assemble his best line-up.

Friday, 17th January 2020, 5:00 pm
Hartlepool United manager Dave Challinor (Credit: Mark Fletcher | MI News)

Injury issues and a hectic fixture schedule have prevented the Pools boss from naming what he views as his best side to tackle the National League.

Challinor has made several changes to the side since he arrived with goalkeeper Mitchell Beeney, defender Gary Liddle and midfielder Mark Shelton all coming into the side and playing an active role in recent weeks.

And when discussing his team selection, the United manager said: “The difficulty at the minute is, ultimately I want to pick my best 11 but with the injuries we have and the players we have out limits us.

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Luke James of Hartlepool United after missing a goal scoring opportunity 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)

“We’ve got eight lads in the physio room which isn’t an ideal situation if you want to pick your best 11.

“What we have to be and what I’ve asked the players to be in certain games is adaptable.

“We’ve got to be like that as a management team and look at what is the best scenario for us in specific games and that’s had to be the case and will continue to be the case.”

Several key players have had their game time limited through injury since Challinor arrived. Midfielder Gavan Holohan missed a chunk of games due to a back injury, while Peter Kioso was out with a concussion, but both have since returned.

Longer term injuries to key players Luke James, Luke Molyneux and Michael Raynes have made things more difficult for Challinor.

“Hopefully we’ll get some more bodies back sooner rather than later,” he added.

“A big miss for me is Luke James. When we arrived Luke was fit and playing very well before his injury and showing the sort of form that makes him one of the most threatening players at this level for us and a real handful for the opposition.

“We’ve lost that and we’ve got to accept that and probably continue without him for the rest of the season.

“It’s obviously a big loss but it’s part of football and we’ve got to deal with that and manage it.”