Darlington v Hartlepool United: Richard Money reveals selection plans for highly-anticipated derby clash
Richard Money is expecting to field a strong Harltepool United side at Darlington this evening as the local rivals prepare to lock horns once again.
Money, who will observe the clash at Blackwell Meadows from the stands, could use the Durham Challenge Cup tie as an opportunity to give fringe players some much needed game time.
That has been how Hartlepool have utilised the competition this season, while also using the opportunity to blood in several of the club’s promising youngsters.
While admitting it is a game that the club could do without, the Pools boss is insistent that he will name a team to make supporters ‘proud’ - especially given the fixture’s significance to the Hartlepool faithful.
And that could see the likes of Conor Newton, Paddy McLaughlin and Lewis Hawkins - all of whom were absent for the visit to Harrogate on Saturday - handed opportunities.
Money will allow his coaching staff to lead the derby clash, but it will be the Pools boss naming the team to take on the Quakers.
He said: “Our coaching staff will look after the game, I can sit upstairs and see a different view – and the staff here are more than capable of taking the team.
“We will play as many senior players as I think is appropriate.
“We have players coming back – Newton has trained this week and Hawkins is still here.
“So I said as before, I’m mindful of the significance of the game and, to be truthfully honest, it’s a game we could do without now.
“I’m mindful of the importance of who we are playing against and supporters can be assured we will put a team out there they can be proud of.”
Pools’ squad is thin on numbers and that could see some first team players handed a starting berth at Darlington.
Money says those decisions will be made on a case-by-case basis as he assesses which players need the game time.
A number of players struggled for game time over the festive period, whether due to knocks or poor form, and this could prove an ideal opportunity to hand them a chance to impress.
“We have a small squad here, limited in numbers,” he added.
“I’m not concerned about playing someone in the game who has been playing regularly, I just make a call on if they need the game or not.
“We are still sort of coming through the Christmas period when some did play four games, so we won’t risk someone who has done that, but we mixed it up a little bit.
“Paddy McLaughlin, for example, who hasn’t played all the games over Christmas, even if he had played Saturday then he could still play Tuesday.”
Over 1,400 tickets have already been snapped up for the third round tie, with Pools one of eight sides remaining in the competition.
Supporters will not be able to purchase tickets on the evening of the game after sales stopped at 4pm yesterday.
The tie at Blackwell Meadows kicks-off at 7:30pm and must be decided this evening, with a penalty shoot-out to decide the clash if the scores are level after 90 minutes.
We will have live updates from the clash, and reaction from the Pools camp, on our Twitter page @HUFCMail throughout the evening.