Hartlepool United's 'manageable' loan player dilemma
Hartlepool United currently have eight players on loan but are only able to name five in a matchday squad.
Luke Armstrong, Lewis Cass, Jake Cooper, Brad James, Henrich Ravas, Harvey Saunders and Tom White are all competing for those five spots on the teamsheet with two guaranteed to miss out.
Loan striker Richie Bennett is set to be recalled by his parent club Stockport County this week, taking the number of loan players at the club to seven going into the final month of the campaign.
National League rules stipulate that: “A Club may name up to a maximum of five players on a Team Sheet who are either Short Term Loan, Long Term, Youth Loan or Work Experience.
"Any Club in breach of this Rule which results in more than 5 of such players entering the field of play during the course of any one fixture will be deemed to have played an ineligible player(s) and will be dealt with in accordance with Rule 6.9.”
Rule 6.9: “Any Club found to have played an ineligible Player in a match or matches shall have any points gained from that match or matches deducted from its record, up to a maximum of 12 points, and have levied upon it a fine.”
Even though Pools will have to leave out at least two loan players from upcoming matchday squads, boss Dave Challinor is confident in being able to manage the selection dilemma.
“In terms of where we are with loans, they were always going to be important for us,” he told The Mail.
“We’ve got two loan goalkeepers and we wouldn’t necessarily, ‘waste’ is the wrong word but we wouldn’t use two loans of the five on goalkeepers. One will miss out.
“We need to look at how we can use them and sometimes it won’t be ideal but having Danny Elliott and Zaine [Francis-Angol] being short term contracts but not loans helps us massively in that respect because the loan lads have been integral in what we’ve done this season.
"It’s a tough one and there will be times where we’d maybe want to have a loan player involved and won’t be able to so we have to make different decisions.
"It is manageable because if it wasn’t, we wouldn’t have done it.”