Friendly defeat at Spennymoor Town a harsh reality check for Hartlepool United trialists as Dave Challinor questions fitness

Dave Challinor hasn’t got time for unfit trialists at Hartlepool United.

Wednesday, 21st July 2021, 4:45 pm

With just over two weeks before the start of the League Two season on August 7, Pools are still looking at trialists in the pre-season friendly matches.

In total, eight trialists were used during Tuesday night’s 1-0 defeat at Spennymoor Town and six of them have been successfully identified so far – goalkeeper Adam Smith, Kalvin Kalala, Olufela Olomola, Florent Indalecio, Zaine Francis-Angol and Mark Cullen.

Some have already agreed terms with the club while others are still fighting to earn deals ahead of the new season. But Challinor has questioned the fitness of some of the players who featured in the game.

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Former Newcastle United player Florent Indalecio on trial at Hartlepool United. Pre-season friendly 20-07-21. Picture by FRANK REID

No individuals were highlighted but the Hartlepool manager’s frustrations were clear as he said: “The big thing for me with trialists is that if you come here on trial, if you’re not fit then what’s the point? There is absolutely no point of it.

"I’m not going to say two weeks before the start of the season, ‘don’t worry about it, I’ll get you back to fitness and judge you,’ it’s not going to happen.

"In terms of a game like this, if you’re not fit against a part-time team from two divisions below and you can’t run all over then you’ve got no chance in League Two.”

After 60-minutes, Challinor made wholesale changes to the side with most trialists making way for contracted first team players.

And the Pools boss has admitted some of the trialists won’t be invited back for the upcoming friendlies at Gateshead and Blyth Spartans over the next week.

"If you don’t understand the game and I get that we have different things that are required within our system but again it’s just football intelligence,” he added.

“If you can’t produce it here against [Spennymoor] then how can we look at that and go ‘he’ll be fine against teams two divisions higher, I’m sure he’ll be a magnificent player,’ it’s not going to happen.

"Opportunities are few and far between and if you don’t take them you could find yourself without a contract, knocking on the door at Spennymoor and asking for a game.

"Based on what Tommy [Miller] has seen, I’d expect him to look elsewhere.”

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