Hartlepool United manager Dave Challinor explains why these two players played the full 90 minutes at Spennymoor Town

Hartlepool United’s friendly at Spennymoor Town was more of a work out for some than others.

Thursday, 22nd July 2021, 12:30 pm

The majority of players either played the opening hour or final half hour as Pools suffered a narrow 1-0 defeat at the Brewery Field.

But defender’s Timi Odusina and Zaine Francis-Angol played the full 90-minutes in the warm evening conditions in County Durham.

With several trialists and new recruits, the fitness levels in Pools’ squad vary significantly at the moment.

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Zaine Francis-Angol. Spennymoor Town FC 1-0 Hartlepool United FC. Pre-season friendly 20-07-21. Picture by FRANK REID

But manager Dave Challinor admitted the likes of Odusina and Francis-Angol, who played in the penalty shoot-out victory against Torquay United a month prior, are close to 100-per-cent fitness already. Therefore, asking them to play a full match wasn’t an issue for the Pools boss.

"It’s hard because we’ve got lads out there who haven’t kicked a football as such since May 9 when the EFL season ended,” Challinor told The Mail.

"So even playing 60 minutes is an ask but we’ve got other lads like Timi and Zaine who are only a month since playing their last game so it’s safer to ask them to play the full game because they’re virtually back to 100-per-cent.

"Ideally we wouldn’t have done it but it was pretty risk free for them and it will help them. We’ll have to reassess things for the Saturday, Tuesday and look at who and if get the 90-minutes in the tank.”

Pools continue their pre-season schedule at Gateshead on Saturday (3pm kick-off) before making another National League North journey to Blyth Spartans next Tuesday (7:30pm kick-off).

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