Hartlepool United's striker dilemma 'similar' to last season – but positive start has helped

Hartlepool United will now have to turn to the free agent market in order to bolster their attacking line after missing out on several transfer targets on deadline day.
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Pools lost their two top scorers from last season in Luke Armstrong and Rhys Oates over the summer and have brought in a number of forward players to try and compensate for the 32-goals the pair scored between them.

Mark Cullen and Fela Olomola were signed as free agents and are the only two out-and-out strikers contracted at the club.

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Dave Challinor has also brought in Will Goodwin on loan from Stoke City until January as another attacking option.

Will Goodwin in action for Hartlepool United against Carlisle United (photo: Frank Reid).Will Goodwin in action for Hartlepool United against Carlisle United (photo: Frank Reid).
Will Goodwin in action for Hartlepool United against Carlisle United (photo: Frank Reid).

Winger Tyler Burey, on loan from Millwall has proven to be something of a surprise package when played up front so far this season with the 20-year-old scoring three in his first three starts for Pools in League Two.

Prior to Armstrong’s arrival last season, Pools’ lack of fire power was almost their downfall as they found themselves in a mid-table position in the National League.

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While things certainly look more promising this time around, Challinor has still been desperate to bring in at least one more striker to the club.

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And the Pools boss has drawn comparisons between his current striker situation and the position in the opening months of the 2020-21 campaign which saw Oates struggling for fitness while Mason Bloomfield and David Parkhouse failed to make an impact.

“It's probably pretty similar to be honest,” he told The Mail. “Last season was different because we started with a different system so we were looking at one central striker.

"We brought in some loans and players who didn't really work or hit the ground running. We were able to make a decision under not massive pressure outside of a transfer window to bring Luke in.

"It's different this year with the shape we're playing as well as the league. It's stepped up a little bit but it's not too dissimilar.

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"The thing with last season is we were still able to start well by winning our first three, drawing the fourth and then we had a bit of a blip.

"If we can carry on our good start this year then it takes the pressure off in terms of what we need to do.”

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