FIVE issues facing Hartlepool United boss Craig Harrison

Hartlepool United's Conor Newton gets his foot on the ball against Maidenhead United on Saturday.
Hartlepool United's Conor Newton gets his foot on the ball against Maidenhead United on Saturday.

Three games, no wins.

Hartlepool’s start to life in the National League has been far from plain sailing. But, things can only get better, can’t they? Surely?

With Chester next up at Victoria Park tomorrow, we take a look at what issues face Pools boss Craig Harrison as his side look to secure their first win of the season.


This is at the very top of the agenda.

It is no good playing changing a setup every 45 minutes. The manager will know that, too.

Speaking to him at the weekend you can tell he wants to get Hartlepool playing in a settled fashion and set system, but he does not quite know what suits his players best yet.

Sadly, as can sometimes be the case, Harrison is having to do a bit of learning on the job in these early days of the season.

He is still learning about his players, and vice-versa.

The sooner the better he settles on a system and sticks to it, the better in many fans eyes.

Central defence

Not every player you bring to a club starts like a house on fire.

That pretty much summarises Louis Laing’s start to life at Pools.

Without doubt he is a talented player. I can vouch for that having seen him excel for Motherwell in recent years during my time as a reporter north of the border.

But he has not quite got off on the right foot yet.

Newton fitness

Is Conor Newton 100% up to speed yet, having missed a chunk of the summer schedule?

It doesn’t look to be that way, especially given that he is a League One standard midfielder at his very best.

Could Nicky Featherstone be a player who is able to step in if needed?

Well, the manager did point out that Feath is fitter and leaner than he has been in the last 18 months. This could be a change the manager ponders.

Is it time for Hawkins to come out the firing line?

Lewis Hawkins is as solid a professional as they come. He works hard for the team and does his job with minimal fuss.

Well, this season he’s dipped below his usual levels and could find his place under threat, given that one of pre-season’s top performers Michael Woods has had to settle for a spot on the bench.

Pools are stocked with midfielders - they need two of them to make the spots their own. Luke George might be that man.

Does Deverdics have a role to play?

I really thought this would be the season where Nicky Deverdics laid down a marker at the Vic.

He was a star at this level for Dover and although we haven’t seen it yet, I have an inkling that if he was played in his preferred role he could prove to be a very valuable player for Pools.

Will he get the chance? Who knows?

I’d throw him in, especially at home, with licence to roam in behind Padraig Amond and Jake Cassidy.

It’s no good throwing him wide. You want him where he can hurt people.
Let him and new boy Jack Munns fight it out for a place in behind the strikers.