How did Stoke City loan duo get on as Antony Sweeney made changes for Hartlepool's defeat at Port Vale

Antony Sweeney has no regrets over his decision to make two defensive changes following the defeat to Port Vale.

Sweeney brought in Luke Hendrie for his first league appearance since the 5-0 defeat at Leyton Orient with Stoke City loanee Eddy Jones also starting for the first time since the loss at Stevenage in early October.

Out went Zaine Francis-Angol and Reagan Ogle as Sweeney also altered Pools’ shape by reverting to a back four.

Both Hendrie and Jones featured for the full 90 minutes and Sweeney believes both did reasonable jobs.

Eddy Jones was handed his first league start since early October (Credit: James Holyoak | MI News)

“They did fine. It’s tough. Hendo, ideally, would probably prefer to play right side in a three. Eddy can play anywhere up and down that left-hand-side,” Sweeney explained.

“They’ve both not played recently, but again both have trained really well in their time here and deserved an opportunity to try and show what they can do.

“I don’t think either lad did poorly by any stretch of the imagination.”

Sweeney continued to The Mail: “Predominantly we’ve played a back three and I think it suits certain players but at what point do you think ‘we need to try something a little bit different?’

“We’ve conceded a lot of goals recently playing with that back three so we tried to tighten it up and be more solid with a back four and two holding players in midfield and have a solid base to build on.”

It was a change in personnel and system which worked initially for Sweeney as Pools enjoyed the better of the possession in the opening half an hour before Ben Garrity put the home side ahead against the run of play.

As Pools searched for an equaliser Sweeney turned to loan striker Will Goodwin from the bench who he was also keen to praise.

“Will did fine. If you ask him he’s probably disappointed not to stick one in the net.

“He’s a young lad and we’ve got to be cautious with him really because he’s come into the football club with a heavy burden on him to try and replace the goals that we’ve lost.

“He’s not long been at Stoke and probably came out on-loan a little bit earlier than they would have wanted from their point of view. But it’s all a massive learning curve for him.”

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