Hartlepool United manager Dave Challinor explains why Luke Williams was handed his first National League start against Woking

After almost three years, Luke Williams finally made his full National League debut for Hartlepool United against Woking.

Monday, 22nd March 2021, 6:00 am

It came at the second time of asking as Williams did start in the abandoned match at Eastleigh back in November but the records for that game were expunged.

Since joining Pools from Scunthorpe United in 2018, Williams had been limited to just a handful of substitute appearances with injuries plaguing his spell back at Victoria Park.

But for Saturday’s crucial match against Woking, Hartlepool manager Dave Challinor handed the midfielder the opportunity to prove himself.

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Luke Williams made his first league start in almost four years on Saturday. (photo: HUFC/Alex Chandy)

While Williams’ inclusion in the starting line-up ahead of the likes of Mark Shelton and Gavan Holohan came as something of a surprise, it was a decision the Pools boss felt was necessary.

"We went with a side that we thought could create chances and even if Woking did bank in, you look at a player within our squad who can find that pass or shoot from 25-yards, Luke has that,” Challinor explained.

“The biggest surprise was the opportunity he missed because he puts them away and passes the ball into the net so to see him get a little bit tight on that one and probably realising how good a chance and the fairytale return, he snatched at it a little bit.

“We also wanted to see where he is at and can we rely on him and can he rely on his body to get through games?"

With the player registration deadline in the National League coming up on Thursday, Challinor is hoping to bring in at least one new signing.

But the hope is that a fit Luke Williams will prove to be a fine asset in Pools’ promotion push.

“We don’t want to get to Thursday thinking we’ve got a creative midfield player in our squad and then involve him next week and he breaks down and it’s after the deadline,” Challinor added.

“We know that if we can get him right, the quality he has, he can be a huge asset for us between now and the end of the season.

"The game will do him the world of good, he’s happy, he’s emotional around the fact that he has got to where he’s got to and played 65-minutes quite comfortably and not felt anything.”

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