Dave Challinor pleased with defensive competition at Hartlepool United despite losing two key players

Hartlepool United’s 2021-22 squad is starting to take shape, particularly at the back.

Tuesday, 20th July 2021, 6:00 am

Following the club’s promotion to League Two last month, Pools have been able to retain the services of key defensive players such as Gary Liddle, David Ferguson, Jamie Sterry and Timi Odusina.

Dave Challinor has also been able to bolster the back line with the additions of Neill Byrne and Reagan Ogle.

Full-back Zaine Francis-Angol is also expected to stay at Victoria Park with his new contract just awaiting official confirmation by the club.

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Hartlepool manager, Dave Challinor. (Credit: Mark Fletcher | MI News)

The Mail understands another defender with National League and Football League experience who has previously worked under Challinor is also on trial at the club with a view to a deal.

Despite losing promotion stars Ryan Johnson and Lewis Cass to Port Vale, the Pools boss is pleased with how things are shaping up ahead of the new season.

“We’ve got options in defence and that’s what we need, we need competition and players who can fill different positions,” Challinor told The Mail.

"We played with a three [at Runcorn Linnets] which got us success last season so we’ll be looking at that but with the adaptability to switch to a four when we need to.”

Discussing his new additions at the back, the Hartlepool manager added: “Saturday’s game will have done them the world of good because it’s different positions especially in Reagan’s case as a wide centre-back which is something he’s not done before, something we think can potentially be a position that suits him.

"It’s always going to be difficult in the first half because your fitness doesn’t really benefit until the second half and the lads who came on in the second half obviously benefited from that.

"[Byrne] is a leader and in terms of his position is a good size, good in the air, very quick for his size and good on the ball.

"He ticks all the boxes in terms of what we want from a centre-back, he can play in the middle, on the left and being right footed is probably more comfortable playing on the right.

"For all of them, the game has done them the world of good and they’ve fit in really well so far and I’m sure they’ll be successful for us here.”

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