Hartlepool United manager Dave Challinor on Aaron Cunningham loan and why he won't be recalled from Blyth Spartans loan

Hartlepool United’s current defensive dilemma could have been somewhat avoided had they not loaned Aaron Cunningham to Blyth Spartans, admitted manager Dave Challinor.

Wednesday, 4th November 2020, 4:45 pm

The 22-year-old centre-back joined Blyth in the National League North on a season-long loan, leaving Pools with just three recognised senior centre-backs in Gary Liddle, Timi Odusina and Ryan Johnson.

Just a month into the new season and Liddle and Odusina are both facing spells on the sidelines, leaving Pools desperately short of options at the back.

And with the terms of Cunningham’s loan agreement preventing him from being recalled by Pools until January, Challinor won’t be able to turn to the defender for help.

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Aaron Cunningham in action for Hartlepool United. Picture by Frank Reid

“When you’re limited like we are, it’s always going to be difficult when you pick up injuries,” he said.

“Hindsight at times can be a wonderful thing, we sent Aaron out to play games at Blyth because he needed to play some games. We thought that was the best for anyone because he needed some experience.

"He’s having a rough time of it at the moment at Blyth but he’s learning on the job. The way things are and how games are and how Covid could affect things, it’s a lot worse than we thought with people having injuries.

"If you look at it now, keeping him here would have helped, it might not have done him any good but we’d be in a better position right now.

"In the meantime, we’ll have to try to call in some favours and hopefully try to bring in defenders who can come in and have an instant impact because we want people to come in and play.”

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