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Matthew Bates considers Hartlepool United formation experiment

Manager Matthew Bates.
Manager Matthew Bates.

Hartlepool United boss Matthew Bates admits he is considering a formation shift ahead of the new National League season.

The 31-year-old former defender believes a switch to three central defenders may suit the personnel he has at his disposal this summer.

Bates has revealed he will trial the system this pre-season, which kicks off for Pools a week on Saturday when they travel to Billingham Town.

“We have got Myles [Anderson], Louis Laing and Carl Magnay here. We are going to have a look at the shape,” said the manager.

“It might be that we play three at the back in pre-season. It gives us options.

“The two defensive signings [Anderson and Andrew Davies] give us the opportunity to change things, personnel, if needed.”

While Magnay is a right back, he performed brilliantly in the centre, leading from the front as Pools stretched away from danger of the National League drop.

And Bates is certain to use the player in a similar role this time around.

Prior to the final game of the season against Tranmere, Bates went on the record about where he sees the future of Magnay moving forward.

“Magnay has played right back for most of his time at this club but he has been a revelation at centre back at the end of this campaign,” he said to the Mail on April 26.

“He’s a talker. Our goals conceded ratio has gone down since he has switched to centre half and that is absolutely no coincidence.

“That is where I think he is better.”