‘Hasn’t done his chances any harm’ – Dave Challinor assesses former Port Vale striker and Ex-Sunderland forward ahead of Northampton Town clash
Mark Cullen and Jordan Cook were two players handed an opportunity to impress for Hartlepool United in the Papa John’s Trophy on Tuesday night.
Pools beat Morecambe on penalties following a 2-2 draw after normal time in what was a solid team performance against League One opposition.
Dave Challinor made nine changes to the side that were beaten 2-0 at Stevenage on Saturday.
Cullen was handed only his second competitive start for Pools since joining the club in the summer while Cook made his full debut after arriving as a free agent last month.
Both players were in the heart of the action from the start as they looked to make the most of their chance. But it ultimately proved to be a frustrating evening for Cullen in front of goal.
“We spoke to him beforehand in terms of the opportunities he might get and he had two really good opportunities in the first half and two he’d hope to take,” Challinor said. “He had a couple in the second half too and it was just one of those nights for him.
"That’s disappointing for him, it’s disappointing for us but it’s minutes in the bank for him and we’ll see where he’s at."
Cook was deployed in a slightly deeper attacking midfield role and managed to grab himself a well worked assist for Matty Daly inside the opening 10-minutes.
But Challinor still wants more from the former Sunderland man.
“He did okay,” Challinor told The Mail. “He played in a position and probably did better in terms of that little hole but we just need to get more output from him.
"With him, as with all of the forward players, he’s been brought in to score goals and he needs to be that goal threat.
"There was some good play from him with the first goal to pick out Dales. We need to see more of that but he hasn’t done his chances any harm in terms of his performance on the whole.
"Now we’ve got to make a decision around who we think will be our focal point on Saturday and how it works and how we go. We’ve got questions that we need to go through and put our opinions forward before making a decision as to how we go this weekend.”