Hartlepool United manager Dave Challinor assessing options with out-of-contract former Middlesbrough midfielder Luke Williams

Luke Williams getting back on the field for Hartlepool United has been one of the highlights of an otherwise turbulent pre-season campaign.

Friday, 2nd October 2020, 12:30 pm

The 27-year-old remains out-of-contract at Victoria Park but his displays and minutes on the field during pre-season have been very encouraging ahead of the competitive campaign.

A two-year injury nightmare has limited the midfielder to just three substitute appearances for Pools since arriving from Scunthorpe United in the summer of 2018.

But after starting two matches and scoring four goals during September’s friendlies, Williams remains part of manager Dave Challinor’s plans and could potentially play a role in the coming National League season.

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Luke Williams hasn't started a competitive game for Pools since arriving from Scunthorpe United in 2018.

"He could potentially be involved in the National League games," Challinor told The Mail. “I’ll be having a chat with him to see where his thoughts are at and what he’s feeling.

"Ultimately, it’s about him and his progress after being out for so long. Playing 90-minutes last weekend and his pre-season in general will have done him the world of good psychologically.

“It’s just about taking him on and keeping him moving forward. If we do that he’ll get more belief and more confidence, for him, in his body more than anything else.

"But there’s still things he needs to do. Although he’s never going to be a tough-tackling midfielder, he needs to feel a tackle and go in for them and after that he might go ‘you know what, I’m fine’.

Hartlepool United manager Dave Challinor during the pre-season friendly against Gateshead. Picture by FRANK REID

"We’ve got to get those things ticked off and he’s got to believe in himself that he’s back and can play games at this level.

"He’s been out for a long time but if he can get him back to a good level, with the ability he’s got, he’s miles above National League level.”

Challinor and Williams now have a choice whether to ease back into National League games or ensure he gets regular minutes under his belt elsewhere.

“It’s important we don’t halt his progress by reducing the number of minutes he’s getting in terms of games,” the Pools boss added.

"If we can work something out where he’s getting games elsewhere then that’s an agreement that we’ll look to make between us and Luke. But we need to see where he’s at and what he’s feeling.”

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