Jake Cassidy edging towards full fitness but best is still yet to come from Hartlepool strike

Jake Cassidy.
Jake Cassidy.

Craig Harrison has admitted he rushed striker Jake Cassidy back from injury due to a lack of options in his Hartlepool United squad.

As a result, the manager thinks we are yet to really see the best of his frontman, in the second half of Pools campaign at least.

Former Wales Under-21 international Cassidy has impressed in patches for Pools this season, since signing on a free from Guiseley.

But a foot injury, which ruled him out for much of Autumn schedule, has held him back somewhat, according to Harrison.

And when Pools lacked options up top, with the two strikers signed to stand in for injured Cassidy – with James Thorne and Tomi Adeloye out – the manager admits his hand was forced.

Cassidy was thrown back into the mix, in the manager’s opinion, two to three weeks too soon.

And only now are we starting to witness the return of an almost 100% match fit Cassidy.

He said: “It has been a tough one with Jake.

“He had that injury and I still don’t think he is fully match fit.

“It has been six to eight weeks he has been back but he was out 10 weeks.

“And as part of the situation we find ourselves in, we maybe had to throw him in sooner than we would have liked.

“If we’d had more players fit at the time, he would have been kept back two or three weeks to hit the ground running. We didn’t have that luxury.

“I think he has steadily been improving, but he will continue to get better as he is clearly still not 100% yet.”

Meanwhile, Scott Loach has revealed that the players remain positive, despite the dire situation on and off the park.

The goalkeeper is one of the more experienced players in the Pools squad, along with Carl Magnay and Nicky Featherstone.

And he says he will continue to keep trying to encourage the Pools squad and not let the situation get the better of him.

“I’ve played in the Championship, people can think that brings with it experience, but at the end of the day I am here for a reason, as is everyone else,” he said.

“I always try to remain positive.

“We have got a lot of voices in the squad - Mags and Feaths like to speak up.

“Over a 46 game season we were always going to have ups and downs. It is important to not get too up or down.

“We need to improve.”

Meanwhile, Hartlepool’s youth team host Chesterfield at Welfare Park in Blackhall at noon today – with a number of schoolboy players set to get a chance to shine.

Ian McGuckin’s youngsters are looking to climb the table when fifth-placed Chesterfield visit.

“The games are coming thick and fast at the minute and that’s good for us,” McGuckin said.

“This weekend will give the opportunity for a couple of the Under-16s players to come in and show what they can do so we’ll look forward to seeing how they perform.