‘I wanted to play him’ – Hartlepool United manager Dave Challinor explains why Nicky Featherstone didn’t feature against Barnet despite being fit again

Fit again Nicky Featherstone was left frustrated not to be included in Hartlepool United’s squad for Saturday’s 1-0 win over Barnet at Victoria Park.

Monday, 1st March 2021, 6:00 am

The Pools midfielder had missed the last four games due to a knee injury but had returned to full training in the build-up to the match against The Bees.

Featherstone had never missed a National League match under Dave Challinor prior to his injury but has now been absent for the last five.

The Pools management team collectively made a conscious decision not to risk the midfielder at the weekend, despite Challinor’s initial instinct to play him.

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Hartlepool United manager Dave Challinor and midfielder Nicky Featherstone. Picture by Frank Reid.
Hartlepool United manager Dave Challinor and midfielder Nicky Featherstone. Picture by Frank Reid.

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“We didn’t want to risk him,” the Hartlepool manager told The Mail.

“It’s a tough one for Feaths because he wants to play so he was a bit angry not to.

"If I was picking things, I wanted to play him but was swayed by the opinions of our other staff which I obviously value massively.

"It about the bigger picture and when you look at our performance Tuesday [at Wrexham], it was a good performance and we’ve got two really important away games coming up and I’d have hated to put Feaths out there and there be an incident during the game which sets him back.

"That's what decided it along with us being in a fortunate position of having players fit and available so we didn’t need to chance it.

"Every day for him will be an extra day of recovery and hopefully he’ll be fine to have a big impact for us in the next two away games we’ve got over the next week.”

Pools travel to Halifax Town on Tuesday night before a long trip to league leaders Torquay United on Saturday. Challinor is set to welcome Featherstone back into the side despite the likes of Tom White and Mark Shelton really stepping up to the mark in the midfielder’s absence.

“Feaths has not been missed in terms of the results and performances which have been great,” the Pools boss added.

“But he has been missed because I won’t hide his importance in terms of how I want us to play and what he gives us. It’s great to have him back available while also being in a position where we don’t need to risk him until he’s 100-per-cent ready.”

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