The intriguing reason behind Stoke City loanees Will Goodwin and Eddy Jones' absence for Hartlepool United against Forest Green Rovers

Eddy Jones and Will Goodwin returned to their parent club Stoke City over the weekend to play for the under-23s side.

Monday, 22nd November 2021, 12:30 pm

Both Goodwin and Jones played the full 90-minutes as The Potters were beaten 3-0 at Fulham under-23s in Premier League 2 Division 2 on Friday.

But they are set to return to Hartlepool United this week ahead of Tuesday night’s League Two match at Swindon Town.

Goodwin’s previous league appearance for Pools came over a month ago in the 2-0 defeat at Salford City in which he was hooked off at half-time, leading to a critical assessment of his performance from then manager Dave Challinor.

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Will Goodwin of Hartlepool United warms up during the EFL Trophy match between Hartlepool United and Everton at Victoria Park, Hartlepool on Tuesday 2nd November 2021. (Credit: Mark Fletcher | MI News)

Jones hasn’t featured in the league since the 2-0 defeat at Stevenage almost two months ago. But both players started the Papa John’s Trophy win over Everton under-21s earlier this month.

Due to their lack of game time, Hartlepool interim manager Antony Sweeney made the decision to allow the players to gain some match sharpness by playing under-23s football at Stoke. Meanwhile, Pools were beaten 3-1 by league leaders Forest Green Rovers at The Suit Direct Stadium.

“The numbers in our squad mean there are going to be four or five players missing for games,” Sweeney told The Mail.

"We're going to need all of those players at some point. Rather than one or two of those players not being in the squad and just sat in the stands, we'd rather have them playing and keeping sharp.

"Eddy has been on international duty [with Wales under-21s] but didn't play so we need our players to be ready when we call upon them.

"Rather than us being selfish and keeping them on the bench or in the stands, we felt it was better for them to get 90-minutes for their parent club because they might be needed on Tuesday.

"I thought getting them match fit over the weekend was important rather than them sitting on the bench or waiting for a chance.

"That's the decision we made, whether right or wrong, there were good intentions behind it because all players in the squad are going to be needed at some point so we need everyone in as good a condition as possible.”

Jones and Goodwin’s loans at Pools are set to expire in January 2022.

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