An FA Cup no-show could be just what the doctor ordered for Hartlepool United defender Peter Kioso, according to Matthew Bates.
The Pools defender will miss today’s trip to Kent to take on League One’s Gillingham in the first round proper.
And while Bates admits his side will miss the speed, physicality and athleticism of the 19-year-old, he also thinks it’s no bad thing the youngster is having a weekend off.
“Maybe him being suspended this weekend is not a bad thing after the weekend he had last time,” said Bates of Kioso, who was sent off for collecting two bookings in the 4-0 National League loss at Bromley.
“He can go away and freshen his mind and body up now, ready for the National League.
“You forget he has only turned 19. He is two weeks off being a second year scholar.”
Bates is backing the central defender, who spent last season at Southern League Premier Division side Dunstable, to come back into the first-team reckoning next weekend against Barnet back to his best.
“He has played most of the games this year and has done remarkably well for us,” he said.
“He is a player who can have a very good future in the game. He is at an age where you make mistakes – I have been there.
“It is not mistakes that will define him, though. It is how you bounce back from that.”
Even without Kioso, and club captain Andrew Davies, Bates is hoping his side can release the “shackles” in a competition Pools are not expected to progress further in.
“It is a competition I love and I want to progress in,” said Bates.
“Can we go and play with the shackles off a bit? I hope we can.
“We can beat them if we play at our best. So why can’t we go there and win? We know we will need to play at our very best and rise to the challenge.
“Anything can happen on the day.”
A win, or even a replay, would mean much more to Pools than just putting their name in the hat for round two.
“The money in the FA Cup for clubs of our level is huge,” said Bates.
“It is a huge part of the financial planning for any club and that is why we are taking a good, strong squad with us and it is a game we want to win.”