Hartlepool United manager Dave Challinor assesses debuts of Stoke City loanee and former Grimsby Town defender

Dave Challinor handed debuts to two Hartlepool United players as part of a defensive reshuffle for Saturday’s 1-1 draw against Exeter City.

Sunday, 26th September 2021, 4:45 pm

Injuries to Gary Liddle and David Ferguson saw Luke Hendrie and Eddy Jones handed their League Two debuts for the club against The Grecians.

It was actually Hendrie’s second league debut for Pools, just shy of six years on from his three game loan spell at the club during the 2015-16 season.

But it was the first chance most people had got to see Jones in the flesh following the Stoke City youngster’s loan arrival on deadline day

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Luke Hendrie (photo: HUFC/Alex Chandy)

And Challinor, who is always honest in his assessments of player’s performances, was full of praise regarding the two defenders’ performances.

“I think they’ll be really pleased with their debuts,” he said. “Both of them have been really positive since they’ve been here.

"Luke has played a number of games previously and is unfortunate not to have played for us before Saturday. I spoke to him last week when he was out of the squad and didn’t travel to Oldham and with him, had we not had any injuries, it was going to be the Papa John’s games where he got a chance to play.

"But as football does, it throws up situations where we have defenders out. In terms of him being able to play as a right-sided centre-back, he gives us more of what we had last year in terms of our right-sided centre-back being a full-back.

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"It means he can step in and be comfortable on the ball while also being able to do a job defensively as well.

"That’s the reason we signed him and he can be really happy with what he did.

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On Jones, Challinor added: “The same goes for Eddy to be fair. Tuesday’s game was the first real opportunity to see him live but he’s got really good quality and put an excellent ball into the box in the first half which for me is a goal ball in terms of the area it went into.

"The question for me was could he deal with the physicality of the league and be able to affect the game and show that quality?

"I thought he did that really well and can be proud of his performance.”

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