This week Louis Laing’s future, bad refereeing and the influence of Andrew Davies dominated the Hartlepool United agenda.
Here our writer Liam Kennedy discusses the burning issues, and gives his take on all things Pools. Below are his thoughts in our special Q&A...
Q: What is the latest with defender Louis Laing’s Hartlepool future?
“We have had some information that confirmed he was not injured last night.
“He could well be one of the players who Raj Singh hinted could leave.
“There have been clubs interested and there was a National League North club interested in him in the summer, but that move failed to materialise.
“There is a need to get players out of the club and Laing could be the first. He may not be the last.
Q: Would losing Laing leave Pools short at the back?
“It is a balance Pools have to strike. They have players who can play there in but not all that many in back up.
“But do they trade a back up defender for a front line striker. I think the answer to this, every single time, would be yes.”
Q: Is it a positive or negative that Pools do not have a proper reserve side?
“Games like the one at Shildon on Tuesday are of massive value to Pools.
“The thing is, even if you have a team in the reserve league you would probably have played the same amount of games.
“And this way round the youngsters, or those on the fringes of the first-team who need minutes, have actually been playing men’s football against proper sides rather than Mansfield youths, for example.
“The club might well argue games against Boro, York City and Shildon are better quality.
“Matthew Bates has been lucky with injuries this season, bar those who were out long term, and he has been able to pick the same team, the majority of the time.
“Players in the grey area between the youth teams and first-team may miss out on minutes but I think Pools have the balance right.”
Q: How much has Andrew Davies had an impact at Pools?
“He has been a massive player for the team.
“He might only be a touch over six foot but he’s so aggressive in both boxes and rarely gets beaten in the air. On and off the field he’s a real asset.”
Q: What are your thoughts on refereeing in the National League? Is it up to scratch? “It is a very hard one to judge because at this level the refs are not full-time.
“With that in mind you are always going to get officials who are cutting their teeth in the game. With that will come mistakes.
“Saturday’s referee was very bad but some this season have been OK. It’s a mixed bag, much like League Two.”