Former Nottingham Forest, Rochdale and Gateshead defender welcomes the competition from Rotherham United loanee at Hartlepool United

Neill Byrne has welcomed the competition at Hartlepool United following the arrival of Jake Hull on-loan from Rotherham United.

By Joe Ramage
Friday, 14th January 2022, 12:00 pm

Byrne has made an excellent start to life at the Suit Direct Stadium following his arrival in the summer and has been a key component in the Pools defence this season.

The Irishman had made 31 appearances this campaign and has been one of the first names on the team sheet since the arrival of Graeme Lee as manager.

But despite such a strong run of games, where Byrne has contributed to Pools earning four clean sheets in the last seven games across all competitions, the 28-year-old now faces competition for his place following the arrival of Hull.

Neill Byrne has enjoyed a bright start to his Hartlepool United career. Picture by FRANK REID

But Byrne believes the addition of Hull will only improve the output of performance from the Pools defence with the former Nottingham Forest man in no mood to give up his place in the starting XI.

“No one wants to give their position away but that’s football. You make them feel welcome,” Byrne explained to The Mail.

“Jake’s come in, he’s a young lad and if anything it makes everyone look around and you step up your game.

“Competition is good in every department and it’s good to have it in any position. It gets the best out of players.

“The gaffer obviously thinks that we needed another centre half in so he’ll be vying for a spot.

“He won’t want to come in and sit on the bench so it’s up to us at the moment to keep the shirts and keep playing well and if not, you’ve got players throughout the squad who can come in and take your spot.”

Byrne knows just what Hull will have to do having made the switch to the Suit Direct Stadium following Pools’ promotion back to the Football League last summer.

But the defender has made light work of stamping his authority across the Pools backline and has been entrusted with the captains armband on occasion, including during the EFL Trophy win over Bolton Wanderers recently.

“Yeah, it was a proud moment. Obviously Feaths is the captain but he handed me the armband and it was a proud moment to captain the club a couple of times this season, it’s a good honour and something I do like doing.”

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