'Freak injury' rules Hartlepool United defender Gary Liddle out until 2021

Hartlepool United manager Dave Challinor expects to be without defender Gary Liddle at least until the New Year.

Injury issues have left Pools short of options at the back so far this season, leading Challinor to bring Tyler Magloire in on loan from Blackburn Rovers and extend Ryan Johnson's deal at Victoria Park until the end of the season.

Meanwhile, first-choice centre-back Liddle is set to be out of action until the start of 2021 with a groin injury.

The 34-year-old was forced off early into Pools’ 2-1 win at Chesterfield during the opening week of the season.

Gary Liddle warming up during pre-season. Picture by FRANK REID

He then returned to play the full 90-minutes in the 6-0 FA Cup win at Ilkeston Town but hasn’t been seen since after what Challinor described as a ‘freak injury’.

"Lidds is a really difficult one and there have been things said about our players and injuries over the past week, but we have to trust our players," Challinor told The Mail.

“People will say Lidds shouldn’t have played at Ilkeston but he trained well all week before that game without any issues and said he was fine.

"If I can’t trust a 34-year-old centre-back who has played 600 league games to tell me he’s fine to play then we'd have a problem, but that’s not the case.

“It was a freak incident inside the first 15-minutes of the game [at Ilkeston] where he went to play a backpass and stumbled.

"He completed the full game with a grade three tear to his adductor without complaining after the game. He woke up on the Sunday morning and then it came to light.

"There was no pain because if you’ve got almost a rupture, then you’ve got no nerve supply so it’s an absolute freak injury.

"He’s probably going to be out for another couple of months. Timescale wise it’s a strange one because it’s an injury that has only been seen by one or two percent but he’s in good spirits although as he’ll tell you, he’s a little bit older so it will take a bit longer to heal.

"We’ll see how he is, it’s not going to be a couple of weeks but we’ll get him back to where he needs to be and hopefully he’ll have an impact come the new year.”

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