Hartlepool United manager Dave Challinor assesses new look central-defence partnership and gives time frame for Michael Raynes' return from injury

Dave Challinor was pleased with the efforts of his new look defensive pair Gary Liddle and Myles Anderson following Hartlepool United’s 1-1 draw at Dover.

Monday, 13th January 2020, 6:00 am
Myles Anderson during the Vanarama National League match between Dover Athletic and Hartlepool United at the Crabble Athletic Ground, Dover on Saturday 11th January 2020. (Credit: Matt Bristow | MI News)

The experienced centre-backs started together for the first time and kept a threatening Dover front-line at bay until the 91st-minute of the game.

Challinor has been critical of Pools’ defending since he took charge but that wasn’t the case on Saturday as he admitted: “Lidds and Myles did well, especially in the first half.

“With them playing one up front they kept him quiet and allowed us to get on the ball a bit more which is something Lidds does naturally anyway and Myles maybe not so much.

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Gary Liddle during the Vanarama National League match between Dover Athletic and Hartlepool United at the Crabble Athletic Ground, Dover on Saturday 11th January 2020. (Credit: Matt Bristow | MI News)

“We defended really well but if I’m being very critical, those two with their experience should probably be thinking they need to get Inih Effiong as far away from our goal as possible and we need to get higher up the pitch and on another day it could have cost us.

“In general, we’ve done really, really well defensively and as a team. I’m just gutted that one moment has ruined it.

“I could be critical with the free-kick we have with who should take it and should we put the ball into the box.

“You allow the players out there to make decisions and what we can’t do is leave ourselves open and then there’s a keeper slip and there’s not a lot you can do about it so as much as it hurts, we’ve got to accept it and move on.

Michael Raynes leaves the pitch after picking up a thigh injury.

“Lidds’ loan is up after the Stockport game so hopefully we can do something there in terms of an extension.”

An injury to Michael Raynes forced the defensive change for Challinor as the centre-back looks set for an extended spell on the sidelines.

“Raynesy has had a scan, he’s torn his thigh muscle so you’re certainly looking at over a month,” revealed the United boss.

“I’d suggest him being out four to six weeks maybe longer if you’re being pessimistic.

“It’s probably not as serious as we first thought because there was a diagnosis that suggested he could be out for a lot longer so the scan is positive news.”