Former Chelsea and Norwich City youngster Ben Killip discusses goalkeeper competition with Derby County loanee Henrich Ravas at Hartlepool United
Hartlepool United goalkeeper Ben Killip is relishing the challenge of competing for his position in between the sticks this season.
Killip has started all four matches so far for Pools this season, keeping two clean sheets and conceding just twice.
But with Henrich Ravas’ arrival on a season-long loan from Derby County, the 24-year-old knows his position in the side isn’t guaranteed as he strives to maintain his early-season form.
"All along, I knew I would have a challenge for the number one shirt,” Killip said.
“Initially with Brad [Young] who is a good young goalkeeper who the club have big hopes for, so that was my competition.
"Then they’ve brought Henrich in who has done really well since he’s been here, he’s trained well but thankfully I got the shirt for the first game of the season and it’s up to me to keep it.
"I can just control what I can control and keep performing really.”
Brad Young has since been loaned out to Blyth Spratans for the season, leaving Killip and Ravas competing for to start matches. And with Pools set to face Ilkeston Town in the FA Cup fourth qualifying round this weekend, Ravas could be handed his first opportunity to impress.
Last season, the goalkeeping position at Pools was the subject of much scrutiny with Zach Hemming, Mitchell Beeney and club legend Dimi Konstantopoulos all being brought in to help provide competition in between the sticks.
Ultimately, they proved unsuccessful as Killip quickly regained his place in the starting line-up following a brief absence.
On Killip, manager Dave Challinor said: “Ben is one who has taken a little bit of criticism, for me around his decision making but defensively.
"But now we’ve kept two clean sheets in our last two games, you can’t ask for any more than that and we’ve got to keep working hard moving forward.
"We put pressure on the centre-backs and the goalkeeper with the way we play where we leave them a bit exposed by getting people into forward areas. They’re a young back four and goalkeeper but they’ve done well and we have to make sure we reward their efforts by scoring goals at the other end.”