Huge opportunity for Hartlepool United strikers in Papa John's Trophy against Morecambe – Stoke City loanee set to be handed chance

Two months into the 2021-22 season and Hartlepool United are still looking for someone to lead their forward line.

Tuesday, 5th October 2021, 6:00 am

Pools have used seven different forward players in various combinations already this season but no player has been able to cement their place up front in the starting line-up.

Tonight’s Papa John’s Trophy match against Morecambe (7pm kick-off) is not just a chance for Pools’ fringe players to get some game time, it’s a chance for the strikers to earn a place in the starting line-up in the upcoming League Two match against Northampton Town.

“We were going to make changes anyway but people will be asking for opportunities so all the forwards that didn't start [against Stevenage] will play,” manager Dave Challinor said.

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Hartlepool United's Will Goodwin reacts to a missed chance during the Sky Bet League 2 match between Hartlepool United and Bristol Rovers at Victoria Park, Hartlepool on Saturday 11th September 2021. (Credit: Mark Fletcher | MI News)

"Will Goodwin, Culls [Mark Cullen], Fela [Olomola] potentially and Cooky will play and there is no bigger opportunity for them than playing.

"I've said this to them, if they go and grab the baton on Tuesday then they'll start on Saturday because no one is sticking their head above the parapet and saying 'I'm your man'.

"You're going to get an opportunity and if you take that opportunity then that ultimately remains with you."

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Pools lost their opening Papa John’s Trophy group stage match on penalties against Carlisle United but were still able to pick up a point following a 3-3 draw after 90-minutes.

And League One Morecambe are bottom of the group after losing 1-0 against Everton under-21s last month.

“In terms of what we'll see against Morecambe on Tuesday, I suggest you'll see a very motivated group of forwards who are desperate to not only score but do themselves the world of good in terms of getting to start the game on Saturday,” Challinor added.

“They will make our decisions for us and they might make our decisions really easy and I hope they do.

"They might make them tough but we'll see where we're at because we want to win and progress in the competition. For us as a squad, it's an opportunity for players to play games and have that chance to show what they can do and put it fresh in our minds in terms of where they're at.

"We'll use that but fundamentally, we want to win the game.”

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