Returning defender Carl Magnay urges Hartlepool United team-mates to play on the front foot

Carl Magnay
Carl Magnay

Carl Magnay is ready to let his football do the talking again.

Magnay is in line for a return to the Hartlepool United squad tomorrow after a six-game absence following surgery to repair a hernia.

It is good news for Pools, who have lost half of those games and conceded eight goals in the process.

And the defender says it is even better news for his his neighbours in the Cyril Knowles Stand.

Magnay admits he has been a frustrated spectator – he misses leading his beloved Pools and has hated suffering another injury absence following his six-month lay-off last year after knee surgery.

“I’m not great when I’m injured. I can get in people’s ears a bit, especially the staff, only because I’m itching to be out there!” he smiled.

“Whoever sits near me at the Vic for games must be fed up of me as well – I’m constantly commentating on the match.

“It’s easy watching from the stands, so it’s about time I shut up and got back on the pitch to do my bit.”

If that is from the start will be down to Magnay and, primarily, boss Craig Harrison of course.

Whether he is in the XI or not, the 28-year-old is adamant there has to be one change, a change of approach.

A day after midfielder Nicky Featherstone told SportMail that the Pools squad must step up to the plate, Magnay was equally forthright in saying the side must knock the long ball on the head, if you forgive the pun.

“The Halifax game was evident that our strength is playing on the front foot, with tempo and being composed on the ball,” he said.

“We’ve played out from the back and into midfield, not shelling it long.

“We’ve got good players and if you instil some belief, which the manager did before the Halifax match, he demanded that we played football.

“The lads took that on board and were magnificent.

“It has to be very much the same approach against Macclesfield, because why do something you are not very good at.

“We discussed this on Tuesday – we’re not good at going long, we can’t do it as a team.

“Going long has to be our very last resort.

“We need to play to our strengths more and have a bit of belief that we can play football.

“It involves taking risks, but we have to take risks – look at Ebbsfleet, we didn’t create enough in the final third.

“You will get no where without taking a bit of a risk, we must try to play that way tomorrow.”

Magnay was making reference to a get-together at the Racecourse training ground, where the Pools squad and staff dissected last Saturday’s disappointing 3-0 defeat at Ebbsfleet.

“Incredibly frustrating,” was the two-word assessment from the club captain on the afternoon in South-East London.

“While we didn’t create enough, it was never a game we should have been beaten 3-0.”

Frustrating is a word he used to describe his absence from the field, admitting he could not have carried on without surgery.

“It’s been frustrating,” he said. “I’d hoped to have been back sooner.

“After being out for so long last season after my knee op, I’d hoped to have an injury-free year.

“That has not been the case, but it could have been a lot worse.

“Nicky Featherstone played with his double hernia for a couple of months last season, but I felt, in my position, I was a little more exposed.

“If I was in a one v one situation, I could not explode.

“After three games trying, I decided to have it done.”

So is the former Chelsea defender fit to play – if selected of course.

“I trained yesterday morning, a full contact session, which felt OK, and stayed back for a second session and I will see how my body reacts,” he said.

“I didn’t feel 100% sharp, but I’ll have a better idea today.”