Gary Liddle reflects on 'proud record' at Hartlepool United with praise for young defensive trio including Newcastle United loanee
Hartlepool United defender Gary Liddle has gone through the entire 2020-21 season without tasting defeat at Victoria Park.
Sunday’s 3-2 play-off victory over Bromley was the final home match of the season and saw Liddle’s personal home record for the campaign stand at a near perfect 10 wins and one draw.
In the 24 matches he’s featured in this season, he’s lost just twice – away at Sutton United and Bromley last month.
And the defender, who turns 35 next week, is pleased to be back fit and playing having missed the majority of the opening half of the season due to a serious groin injury.
But he was quick to praise his centre-back partners Ryan Johnson, Lewis Cass and Timi Odusina who have all helped form a solid back three alongside Liddle in the second half of the season.
"I’m loving it, I’m not getting any younger which is probably there for everyone to see so to have these lads either side of me is great especially when they haven’t played a lot of football between them over their short careers,” he said.
“I’m pleased to be fit again, I obviously had a large chunk of the season out with a groin injury earlier on in the season which devastated me but I worked hard and wanted to be back.
"Since the manager put me back in the side against Yeovil at home, I’ve loved playing here, especially at The Vic and someone said I haven’t lost a game here since Ebbsfleet last season so it’s a proud record for me and I think the only games I have lost this season have both been on 3G which probably tells its own story!
"I’m just happy to be part of this team who have got into this position. We’ve got a chance going to Stockport County now and be on the right end of the result and hopefully have a few thousand Poolies down at Bristol.”
Liddle has previously been part of a promotion campaign at Hartlepool in 2006-07 and has been involved in the League Two play-offs with Carlisle United in 2017.
“You definitely draw on past experiences and there are only a few of us who have been involved in play-off campaigns prior to this,” he added.
"We’ve got some young lads who have barely played any football during their careers, the likes of Cass who didn’t play but Timi, Johno, these lads have been immense and it’s been a privilege to be part of it.
"The fans were here and the lads have done brilliantly to get to where they have without any fans for the most part.
"To play in front of them over the past couple of games has been a real, not so much eye opener for me because I know what they’re capable of, but a few of these lads have really lent on the support we’ve had over the past couple of games and it’s been wonderful to get two great results in front of them.”