Dave Challinor backs Burnley loanee Rob Harker to be a 'positive addition' for Hartlepool United despite difficult debut in 2-1 defeat at Barnet

Rob Harker came off the bench to play his first 40-minutes of senior league football in Hartlepool United’s 2-1 defeat at Barnet.

Monday, 3rd February 2020, 11:45 am
Updated Monday, 3rd February 2020, 12:22 pm
The Hartlepool United team warming up during the Vanarama National League match between Barnet and Hartlepool United at The Hive, Edgware on Saturday 1st February 2020. (Credit: Jacques Feeney | MI News)

The 19-year-old striker joined Pools on loan from Burnley less than 48-hours ahead of the match as he joined up with his new teammates and made the 250-mile journey down to The Hive.

Shortly after half-time, Harker was introduced to lead the Hartlepool front line with the side down to 10-men following Gavan Holohan’s red card.

Although the young forward had to endure a frustrating second half with Pools failing to register a single shot on target, manager Dave Challinor felt it was an experience that will benefit the player moving forward.

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“It will be good for him,” the 44-year-old commented.

“It’s his first experience of this league and it’s proper men’s football if you like. He’s obviously scored goals at under-23s level and he’s shown glimpses of what he can bring because he’s obviously a good size and a presence.”

But there was one area Challinor noticed the forward having to get to grips with.

“I think he was blowing a little bit at the end with us going down to 10 men and him coming on,” he added.

“It took him a bit of time to get his second wind but that will do him the world of good in what was an isolated role just up there where he was feeding on scraps. If we can give him service then he’ll be a real positive addition to the squad.”