Gary Liddle return a welcome boost for Hartlepool United boss Dave Challinor

Dave Challinor is pleased to have experienced defender Gary Liddle back available to him after the 35-year-old made his return from injury at the weekend.

Tuesday, 26th October 2021, 4:45 pm

While the headlines went elsewhere during Pools’ remarkable comeback win over Harrogate Town, it was arguably Liddle’s introduction at half time which allowed Challinor’s side to get back into the game.

Liddle had been out since the goalless draw with Oldham Athletic in mid-September with a tendonitis issue but was brought on at the interval against Harrogate as Challinor reverted to his trusted 3-5-2 system.

And Liddle’s presence not only calmed defenders Luke Hendrie and Neill Byrne alongside him, but also allowed fullback Reagan Ogle to get further forward, disrupting Harrogate’s gameplan, where he was able to provide the assist for David Ferguson’s goal to get Pools back in the game.

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Gary Liddle made his return against Harrogate Town. Picture by Bernadette Malcolmson

Liddle is no stranger to the drama at Victoria Park having made over 300 appearances across his two spells with the club and his presence is felt, not just on the field on a match day, but throughout the club each and every day and it’s something Challinor concedes Pools have missed.

“We know what we’re going to get from Lidds in terms of what he brings to the team and the group,” he said.

“It allowed us to change our shape, but he’s massively important because we do lack that leadership and lack that know-how when he’s not on the pitch.”

Challinor added: “We want to play. If teams want to press against us then potentially they can leave space in behind to exploit, but in order to do that you not only need to be technically good, you need to be brave and confident when stepping into areas and trust each other with the ball and Lidds does that.

“He won’t stand and wait for the ball to come to him, he’ll go and move into areas. He’s composed in how we want to play.

“He brings that know-how and that composure, that desire to get on the football and it conveys a calmness to other players rather than without him when at times there’s a little bit of a panic.”

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