Murray demands understanding of how Pools play right way down to reserves

WATCHING BRIEF: Paul Murray.
WATCHING BRIEF: Paul Murray.

PAUL Murray will look to further instil the way he wants his Hartlepool United side to play when the reserves return to action tomorrow.

Pools second string take on Gateshead at Billingham Town’s Bedford Terrace ground in the Final Third Development League East Division fixture (kick-off 2pm).

Dutch winger Sidney Schmeltz is expected to start the match as Murray looks to increase his fitness levels after eight months out of professional football.

Murray, who has prioritised bringing in a new striker to the club struggling at the bottom of the Football League, could also name trialists in the match.

Schmeltz made an impression as a trialist last week when he played for the reserves in the 2-1 defeat away to West Auckland in the Durham Challenge Cup, so much so, that Murray handed him a short term deal two days later.

Murray told SportMail: “Sidney will need a run out for the reserves and then we may bring some others in to play.

“Sidney is not fit yet, he played 90 minutes last midweek and did well but he’s not ready to start yet [for the first team].

“I want an understanding of how I want to play.”

Schmeltz was Murray’s second signing since he took over as Pools boss, the other being holding midfielder Nicky Featherstone who played the full 90 minutes against Newport County on Saturday in Sky Bet League Two.

“I’m pleased with the two new boys and I know what they can do,” said Murray.

“The fans will be thinking why we are taking those players on but I know what Sidney is capable of and when he’s fully fit he will cause some damage to full-backs in this league.

“The crowd will like him, he can lift the crowd and the players.

“What an impact he made [on Saturday as a sub] and that’s what it’s all about – getting the best out of him and others around him.”

On-loan Huddersfield midfielder Matt Crooks could also get a run out against the Heed after failing to make it off the bench for the first team in the 2-2 draw at home to Newport County.

Midfielders Lewis Hawkins and Connor Smith are also set to feature, along with defenders Dan Jones, Jordan Richards and Darren Holden.

So far this season, Pools reserves have beaten Burton Albion 4-3 but tasted defeat away to Rotherham United (2-4) and Doncaster Rovers (1-3) before last week’s cup defeat.

Pools (from): Barber, Cunningham, Richards, Nearney, Jones, Holden, Skidmore, Briggs, Hawkins, Crooks, Woods, Smith, Elliott, Schmeltz.aa

l JAMES backed: Page 38