Graeme Lee reiterates his desire to hand Rotherham United defender an opportunity as Hartlepool United host Port Vale

Graeme Lee has once again reiterated his desire to hand Jake Hull his first Hartlepool United start as Pools get set to kick-off their Easter weekend against Port Vale.

By Joe Ramage
Wednesday, 13th April 2022, 4:45 pm

Pools welcome an in-form Vale side to the Suit Direct Stadium on Good Friday before heading to Rochdale on Easter Monday and Lee has hinted he could once again mix things up with his squad with Pools now mathematically safe from relegation.

Speaking ahead of their trip to Forest Green Rovers last week Lee said he was keen to hand out opportunities to some of those players on the fringes of his squad including the likes of Rotherham United loanee Hull.

Hull made the switch to the Suit Direct Stadium in January but has been limited to just two late substitute appearances in his time so far owing to the strong form of Lee’s first choice defensive pairing of Neill Byrne and Timi Odusina.

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Graeme Lee wants to hand a start to Rotherham United defender Jake Hull before the close of the season. MI News & Sport Ltd

Lee has praised Hull for his attitude and application in training several times and has again hinted he will hand the youngster an opportunity in the remaining five games of the season.

That opportunity almost came in last week’s trip to the New Lawn Stadium before he opted for the experience of Gary Liddle instead as Pools claimed a valuable point on the road against the League Two leaders.

But with two games over the course of a busy Easter programme, Hull may be handed his full-debut for the club as Lee aims to get a closer look at the defender ahead of his return to the Millers at the end of the season.

“Jake was actually close as to whether I started him but I just felt as though bringing him in for his first game against top of the league would probably be that much of a challenge for him with not playing games,” Lee told The Mail.

Nicky Featherstone is expected to return to the Hartlepool United side after being rested for the draw with Forest Green Rovers. Picture by FRANK REID

“It doesn’t matter who we play it’s going to be tough but I want to get Jake Hull some game time and we want to look at him because he’s come in from Rotherham and he’s had to bide his time because of the performances of the other lads.

“He’s worked that hard in training and I’d like to give him that opportunity.”

Hull could be one of a number of changes for the visit of Port Vale with captain Nicky Featherstone expected to return to the side.

Featherstone was handed a rare breather against Forest Green as Lee gave a closer look to Bryn Morris ahead of a potential decision over his future in the coming weeks.

Luke Moyneux will remain doubtful although Lee did express his hope the 24-year-old would return to training this week having missed the last two games through injury.

Pools face a Valiants side who have lost just one of their last 12 matches, a run which has seen Darrell Clarke’s side move into the automatic promotion places in League Two.

Pools suffered defeat in the reverse fixture at Vale Park in what would be Antony Sweeney’s final league game in charge as interim-manager.