Hartlepool United manager Craig Hignett explains goalkeeper situation following Zach Hemming loan from Middlesbrough
This week saw Hartlepool United confirm the loan signing of 19-year-old goalkeeper Zach Hemming from Middlesbrough.
The teenager joins Pools until the end of 2019 with manager Craig Hignett confirming it was always part of his plan to bring the goalkeeper in.
Young 'keepers Ryan Catterick and Brad Young are currently out on loan at Northern League sides Guisborough Town and Billingham Town respectively.
That left United without a back-up to England C international Ben Killip in goal. Hemming's arrival was therefore a welcome one though Hignett had hoped to bring him in sooner.
"It was always the plan to get a keeper in on loan," revealed the Hartlepool manager.
"We'd been speaking since the start of the season with Middlesbrough really because we knew we needed cover after sending Ryan Catterick and Brad Young out on loan to get experience.
"We spoke to Middlesbrough early on and until Brad [James] had done his 28 days at Gateshead where they couldn't recall him, we weren't allowed to get Zach in until after. Thankfully, that's passed now and we've been able to bring Zach in but that was always the plan from early on."
Pools number 1 Killip has had a tough start to life at Pools with 10 goals conceded in five matches so far in the National League this season.
And while Hignett welcomes the 'crucial' competition for the goalkeeper spot, his current first choice remains clear.
"[Hemming] will be back up to Ben [Killip] but if he does well and he's training well then I haven't brought him here just to sit on the bench no matter what," the former Boro forward added.
"If we need him, he'll play. It's good experience for him being around the first team and it gives us a good back-up.
"The pressure is important for Ben. We've seen a few of our lads up their game because of the competition for places but Ben hasn't had that so far so it's crucial and hopefully we'll see the same reaction from Ben.
"He'll see there's someone there who could potentially take his place and he'll have to make sure he puts in performances."