MICK WADSWORTH doesn’t need to worry about a lack of strength in depth at Hartlepool United.
That’s the view of Micky Barron, who watched his reserve team grab a last-ditch winner at Lincoln City.
With Pools’ future almost certainly looking to be in League One next season, manager Wadsworth has hinted that he will give both fringe and younger players a chance during the season’s conclusion so he knows exactly where his side are before the wheeling and dealing in the summer.
Barron told SportMail: “There is a chance that some of these lads may get the opportunity to show what they can do in the first team.
“Mick has said that he would like to give some of them a chance and whether that be one of the fringe players or even one of the younger lads, I think they’ve got what it takes to step up.”
In a game of very few chances, it took until the 90th minute for the deadlock to be broken and it came in bizzare circumstances.
With both goalkeepers mere spectators for large parts of the game, it came as a shock when youth team defender Darren Holden’s free-kick from the half-way line evaded everyone and skipped through into the net.
Barron felt the goal was a case of just desserts for his side, saying: “We were solid without being spectacular.
“There were only three or four shots each half but I think we had the better chances, particularly in the second half and we were solid defensively so I think the lads deserve the win.”
The game also allowed Barron and the coaching staff to run the rule over on-trial striker James Gray.
The 18-year-old is to be released from current club Middlesbrough in the summer and made his debut for Pools in the 2-2 draw against Grimsby last week where he looked lively and grabbed a goal.
Barron believes that the frontman, who has 10 caps for Northern Ireland at U16 and U17 level, did his chances of a permanent deal with the club no harm with a hard working performance.
Barron said: “We probably didn’t give him the ball as much as he would have liked but he was always busy.
“He gets himself in to some real good positions and he drew a lot of fouls because Lincoln simply couldn’t handle his pace or his trickery.”
With James Brown limping off with an ankle injury during Tuesday’s 1-0 defeat against Leyton Orient, it was perhaps the perfect opportunity for Pools’ “forgotten’’ frontmen to shine.
Denis Behan, Michael Mackay, Fabian Yantorno and Armann Bjornsson all started although the latter was once again deployed in the heart of the defence.
In a scrappy encounter against the Imps, it was Behan who had Pools’ best chance to take the lead but his effort was comfortably saved.
The Irishman showed a good touch and a smart turn on the edge of the box but his low drive was well saved by the experienced Paul Musselwhite.
Substitute Daniel Johnson almost grabbed a late winner for Pools when he got himself in the perfect postion 18 yards from goal but his left-foot volley was again caught by Musselwhite.
With the curtain about to close on a rather drab encounter, Barron was amazed to see Holden’s free-kick miss everyone and end up in the net.
He added: “It was a bizarre goal, the last kick of the game but we’ll take it.
“The game wasn’t a spectacle and not too many people will be wanting to watch the DVD again but a win is a win and the lads were a lot better than they were last week.”
The starting line-up showed a good blend of experience and youth and Barron was more than pleased with how his youngsters performed.
He said: “All the lads worked very hard and did what was asked of them and the young lads were terrific.
“Jordan Richards and Josh Rowbotham were fantastic in the midfield against two experienced players and they matched them physically and did everything right.
“If they are to get a chance in the first team they know that they first have to perform at this level.
“Although they played a lot better than last week, I still feel that there is room for improvement and that’s what we’ll try to do.”
Pools: Rafferty, Pearson, Holden, P Johnson, Bjornsson, Mackay, Rowbotham, Richards (D Johnson 80), Yantorno (Martin 65), Behan, Gray (Greulich 65). Subs Not Used: Hawkins, Mellish