Hartlepool United’s Jake Cassidy needs time to feel his way back into National League

Jake Cassidy.
Jake Cassidy.

Craig Harrison says comeback man Jake Cassidy will need time to get back up to pace in the National League – but added that it’s great to have his physical presence up front.

After a 13-match absence with a foot injury, Cassidy returned to action as a second-half sub in the 0-0 draw at Boreham Wood last Saturday.

It’s good for us to have that physical presence

CRAIG HARRISON

The former Wales U21 striker, one of boss Craig Harrison’s first signings after moving into the Pools hotseat, will be on the bench against Aldershot Town tomorrow at Victoria Park (kick-off 3pm).

Harrison says while Cassidy is fit to play it will take him time to get match-sharp.

“Yes, it’s brilliant having Jake back and he did well the 20 minutes he was on,” said the manager. “He’s going to have to work hard.

“One thing’s for sure is that he brings a real physical presence.

“You could see that when he came on against Boreham Wood – their defence dropped even deeper.

“It’s good for us to have that physical presence but it’s good for the lad himself to be back, it’s obviously been frustrating for him.

“It’s good for competition for places as well.

“Physically, he has healed, the boys have done a lot of work with him, Craig Hubbard, Shaun McLaren and Phil Bulmer, to get him fit.

“But Jake’s went nine weeks without kicking a ball, it’s going to take a while to get that feel of the ball back.

“It is what it is, there’s no short cuts, he’ll just have to play and train his way back.”

Defender Liam Donnelly will return at centre-half following his one-match ban, in what is likely to be the only change to the starting XI.

Michael Ledger has returned to training following his broken nose, but is unlikely to force his way into the squad.

Harrison’s selection dilemmas will be on the bench where he has too many candidates for too few places.

Michael Woods, Conor Newton, Jack Munns and Tomi Adeloye joined Cassidy on the bench at Boreham Wood, but the Pools boss will need to remove one to cater for Scott Harrison to provide defensive cover.