Trialist watch: Jason Kennedy and Liam Smith give Hartlepool United manager Craig Hignett food for thought

Hartlepool United’s two trialists got on the scoresheet in a 6-0 win at Shildon – leaving manager Craig Hignett with a decision to make.

Sunday, 7th July 2019, 12:45 pm
Jason Kennedy warming up for Hartlepool United ahead of their pre-season friendly at Shildon (photo: Frank Reid).

Former Carlisle United midfielder Jason Kennedy headed in Pools’ second goal of the game in the first half before half-time substitute Liam Smith finished off a crisp attacking move to make it 4-0.

Young defender Jack Spark’s trial at the club is over after featuring in the comfortable win at Billingham Town on Tuesday night.

Kennedy has been one of Hignett’s stand out performers in the two friendly matches so far while Newcastle United academy graduate Smith has looked sharp in a more advanced midfield role.

A serious back injury left former Middlesbrough man Kennedy wheelchair bound and restricted his first team impact at Carlisle over the past couple of seasons.

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But now the 32-year-old seems to have put that behind him and has been an influential presence in a vastly competitive Pools midfield so far.

South Shields native Smith will be looking to make his professional breakthrough after previously spending limited loan spells in the Football League with Blackpool and Crewe Alexandra.

The 23-year-old spent time at Gateshead last season and featured in a Durham Challenge Cup win over Billingham Town last October.

And Pools boss Hignett admitted he’s been impressed with his two trialists so far though is satisfied with his current squad of players regardless.

“The lads have came in and been really good, Liam Smith and Jason Kennedy,” he said.

“Jason Kennedy is obviously a vastly experienced player who knows what he’s doing and you can see that.

“Liam Smith is a young lad trying to make his way in the game. They’ve both got loads of ability and it has given me something to think about.

“I think we’re fine, if I had more money I think I might but I’m absolutely fine with where we are and we’ve got enough cover in areas that I’d maybe be looking to try and strengthen but I think up to now I’m delighted with where we’re at.”