Hartlepool United’s Middlesbrough defender Brad Halliday set for longer stay after injury to Duckworth

How often do you hear managers say they want hard selection decisions?
Brad Halliday in action for Hartlepool United against Cambridge United. Picture by FRANK REIDBrad Halliday in action for Hartlepool United against Cambridge United. Picture by FRANK REID
Brad Halliday in action for Hartlepool United against Cambridge United. Picture by FRANK REID

It is a stock line bosses deliver to us in the fourth estate.

Ronnie Moore could be facing a couple in the coming weeks, one sooner than the other.

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Carl Magnay will be available again after this Saturday’s trip to Yeovil, though his recall may not be immediate given the form of Matthew Bates in the holding midfield role.

One potential dilemma has been delayed with news that Michael Duckworth, who had enjoyed an excellent start to the season, has suffered the proverbial set-back in training.

Duckworth has not played since making a goal-saving tackle in the Johnstone’s Paints Trophy tie with Sheffield United.

Magnay deputised at Wycombe, only to get sent off late on with the sort of tackle the TMO at the Rugby World Cup has been busy with in the last few days.

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With Jordan Richards out with back trouble, Moore was forced to utilise the loan market, bringing in Brad Halliday, from Middlesbrough.

He is only two games into a four-week stay and while they say you should never judge a book by its cover, Halliday is already showing signs of being a great acquisition.

The Redcar lad was superb on his debut at Exeter City and was even better on Saturday against Cambridge United.

Halliday made a number of marauding runs which caught the eye and almost scored a sensational goal, only to be denied by a great save from Chris Dun five minute fromhalf-time.

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The 20-year-old had no right to even get into the away box but he bet three defenders before letting fly.

Halliday was pretty good all the game and was voted man of the match by the sponsors.

He was not the only candidate but he was certainly a popular choice.

And Moore told SportMail he has no qualms about keeping him in the team if he keeps playing like that.

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“Ducky has done his hamstring in training again which puts him back another two to three weeks,” Moore explained.

“Its disappointing for him, he’s played well and was looking sharp.

“We have Mags coming back too after Saturday so we have a little bit of cover in that position.

“But if Halliday keeps playing the way he is, they don’t get back, do they?

“He’s pleasing on the eye and he’s a good defender as well.

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“He is bright, he’s positive – he went past three of their players and the keeper pulls off a save. That would have been a wonder goal we’d have been talking about for a while.

“He’s only a young kid, but he has experience, he played 20-odd games for York in League Two.

“Brad has fitted in really well and there’s a hell of a future for him.”

Halliday, you think, is being a little hard on himself by saying he thought he should have scored from that run. “I felt I should have scored,” said the Boro defender.

“I’m disappointed I didn’t.

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“May be it was a rush of blood – I don’t get in that position very much.”

Halliday has settled in smoothly and feels the benefit of having Boro lad Scott Harrison in close proximity to him at the back.

“Scotty is a good player, he’s played a lot of football at this level and he talks to me a lot