Hartlepool United manager Dave Challinor assesses debutants as attacking issues persist at Oldham Athletic

There were two debutants for Hartlepool United this weekend.

Sunday, 19th September 2021, 4:00 pm

New striker Mike Fondop was thrust straight into the Pools starting line-up at Oldham Athletic on Saturday while Jordan Cook was introduced off the bench for the final half hour or so at Boundary Park.

Hartlepool’s new-look forward line did little to solve the side’s attacking problems as the game ended goalless.

But manager Dave Challinor was still able to take some positives.

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Mike Fondop (photo: HUFC)

“I thought to get a full game out of big Mike is encouraging,” said the Pools boss. “He’s came in with us about a week ago but obviously trained on Friday and we’ll have to look at how we play and work things.

"It was a different aspect and he was a focal point up there but we’ve got to be better at putting better quality balls into the box and more people in and around him.

"We need to get into the areas where he potentially is going to get opportunities to score. First half he didn’t do that as much as I would have liked.

"Fergie [David Ferguson] put a couple of decent balls in, second half he was a little bit better but not so much in terms of the service. Cooky’s is a cameo appearance in terms of him going on and giving us a little bit of brightness.”

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Pools have already tried six different attacking combinations so far this season as Challinor looks to find the solution.

“We’re searching for the right partnerships if you like at the top end of the pitch,” he added.

"Whether it’s playing with one [striker] and one off or two up, there is a responsibility from behind to provide service and I’m expecting and wanting more from the players who are up there.

"They’re going to be judged on efficiency, what they bring to the game and ultimately putting themselves in goalscoring positions to be able to have chances.

"If we’re getting into a situation where they’re missing four or five chances then we’ve got half a chance. At the moment, they’re not doing that and those spaces are clearly up for grabs and it’s up to them to answer the questions we have in terms of who starts up there.”

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