RESERVE boss Sam Collins admits Hartlepool United need to add another goalkeeper to the squad sooner rather than later.
Pools have been without a Number 2 to Scott Flinders since Andy Rafferty left the club earlier in the season.
Two trialists played in yesterday’s 2-1 reserve defeat at Middlesbrough in the Final Third Development League Cup fixture at Rockliffe.
Ex-Peterborough United keeper Aidan Grant, 19, from South Shields, started but the strapping 6ft 6” stopper was unable to do anything about Emmanuel Ledesma’s 44th-minute strike to give Boro the lead.
Then at half-time, former Doncaster Rovers keeper Jonathan Maxted, training with Pools for the past 10 days, came on.
Maxted had more to do but was unable to prevent ex-Pools loanee Ryan Brobbel extend Boro’s lead on 51 minutes with a crisp effort from inside the area.
Collins told SportMail: “Neither could do anything about the goals.
“We know we need a Number 2 in and we will have to make a decision before long on somebody.
“Jonathan has been training with us for the past 10 days and Aidan is out of contract too.
“They have both done OK but between everybody we need to make a decision on who will come in.”
Collins wasn’t impressed with his side’s display in the opening hour when Boro should have been out of sight after dominating at the Rockliffe training complex.
But the player-coach was pleased with the way his young side fought their way back into the match, eventually pulling a goal back with 10 minutes left to play.
Sub Tom Mitchinson scored a fine low effort through a crowd of players in the 80th minute.
Collins added: “The last 25 minutes was more like what we wanted – to have a go with people being positive.
“Prior to that, we didn’t kick the ball well enough and it was tough going.
“We got back into it though with a good goal and Tom Mitchinson did well when he came on.
“With the new manager coming in, it is up to the players to impress him.
“Scott [Fenwick] did OK at times, although we probably didn’t get the ball to him enough.
“He needs minutes and playing the full 90 will do him the world of good.
“Stepping up to professional football full-time is difficult but there are good signs from him.”
It was Hartlepool’s second league cup match of the group stage following the 2-1 win over Gateshead last Wednesday.
Michael Woods went off with a thigh problem in the second half while Matthew Bates played the full 90 minutes on his return from a calf injury.
Meanwhile, highly-rated Hartlepool-born Harry Chapman came on as a sub for Boro.
Pools: Grant (Maxted, 45), Carr, Holden, Green, Nearney, Bates, Hawkins, Jewson, Fenwick, Woods (Armstrong, 64), Smith. Not used: Wood, Blackford, Varga.
Boro: Coddington, Bennett, Atkinson, Burn, Kitching, Tinkler, McCarthy (Chapman, 44), Maloney (Griffiths, 44), Ledesma (Jowers, 82), Brobbel, Jones. Not used: Weledji, Dawson.