John Hughes hopes to find place for Pools pair Richards and Austin

Jordan Richards in action against Sheffield United. Picture by FRANK REID
Jordan Richards in action against Sheffield United. Picture by FRANK REID

JOHN Hughes says he can find a place in his Hartlepool United for both Jordan Richards and Neil Austin.

The pair – right-backs by trade – have so far been vying for that one position.

Richards has found himself in possession of the jersey of late having kept his starting spot despite Austin’s return from a four-game ban.

The 19-year-old has impressed and Hughes admits it would have been harsh had he dropped the academy graduate.

Austin has had to make do with substitute appearances in midfield during the last two matches, although Hughes sees a scenario which could accommodate both players.

“We’re looking now at Aussie going back in at right-back and Jordan maybe going wide right,” Hughes told SportMail today.

“If you get the ball to Jordan further up the park and he’s wrapping that foot around the ball then that’s quality crosses we’ll be getting.

“He’s played with a real enthusiasm and has done well, his deliveries are very good.”

Austin picked up his second red card of the season at the beginning of Hughes’ reign and he was only free from suspension last weekend.

Hughes, though, likes what he sees from the former Barnsley man.

“Aussie is one that I want in the team,” he said.

“He’s got that streak in him – he trains the way you want and he inspires you.

“He’s a leader of men.

“I had to be fair – did Jordan do anything to leave him out of the team?

“No, he deserved to stay in.

“I’m the kind who says ‘get the jersey and keep it’ – Jordan has certainly done that.

“As a result Aussie found himself playing a wee role in the midfield.

“But it’s good options to have and we’ll have to see what we do next.”

Meanwhile, confirmation arrived yesterday that Colin Nish has extended his loan stay with SPL side Dundee until the end of the season.

We reported last week that the 31-year-old striker had almost certainly played his last game for Pools with his contract set to expire in the summer.