SAM Collins has challenged Hartlepool United’s second string to show they are worthy of a first team start after going down 2-1 to Gateshead.
The Heed raced into a 2-0 half-time lead before Pools pulled one back through Dan Jones after the interval at the International Stadium.
Collins told SportMail the opening 45 minutes wasn’t good enough but he was pleased with the way his side fought their way back into the Final Third Development League game.
On-loan Newcastle United striker Tom Heardman opened the scoring after 15 minutes with a right-footed curler from 20 yards before Jon Shaw doubled the lead after being given too much space to turn and finish from close range.
Pools got one back after the break through Dan Jones, the left-back connecting with a Jordan Richards cross to head home.
“First half wasn’t very good and we gave two poor goals away,” said Collins.
“That was very disappointing and we didn’t go at them the way we had planned to.
“The second-half was much better and we created some really good chances to get back in it and could have gone on to win.
“It is up to everybody to show they are worth a place in the first team.
“It was a much more positive performance second half and there were some good things to take away in the end.”
Pools named a strong line-up, with strikers Scott Fenwick and Marlon Harewood both starting, while trialist Joe Cracknell played the full 90 minutes.
The 20-year-old stopper, who has joined the Sky Bet League Two on trial from Hull City, is the latest to try and impress Paul Murray as the search continues for a new Number 2.
Ex-Peterborough United keeper Aidan Grant, from South Shields, and former Doncaster Rovers keeper Jonathan Maxted are both still training with Pools.
Collins knows Cracknell from his time at the Tigers and the keeper is spending a couple of days training with Pools. He added: “Joe did alright but he couldn’t do much about either goal.
“He is with us for a few days and we’ll see how it goes.”
Pools: Cracknell, Richards (Carr, 60), Nearney, Bates, Jones, Green, Hawkins, Smith, Holden, Harewood (Blackford, 90), Fenwick (Wood, 60). Subs Not Used: Dawson, Jewson.