Why Middlesbrough loanee Brad James was handed his Hartlepool United debut against Aldershot Town

Brad James came within a penalty of keeping a clean sheet on his Hartlepool United debut at Aldershot Town on Saturday.

Sunday, 16th May 2021, 12:30 pm

Pools won the match 3-1 with James pulling off a strong first half save to deny Craig Tanner.

The 21-year-old was on course to keep a clean sheet until an 86th minute penalty was dispatched by Mo Bettamer.

James’ inclusion in the starting line-up against his former club in place of Henrich Ravas came as something of a surprise when the teams were announced.

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Brad James saves Craig Tanner's free-kick (photo: Frank Reid)

But it was a decision that manager Dave Challinor was quick to explain following the full-time whistle.

“It was a decision we made looking forward to play-off games,” said the Pools boss. “Brad [James] has obviously come in, Brad Young has picked up a little bit of an ankle injury in training.

"What we want to do is give ourselves an opportunity and if Brad is called upon, whether it’s in the next game or in the play-off games, then at least he’s had some experience of what’s going on.

"It’s always a hard one. Do you chuck him in somewhere where he’s familiar because he’s had a loan spell here? Do you wait a little bit? It was a good chance to chuck him in and he did really well, he’s trained really well.

"He’d be the first to admit when we told him he was playing on Friday, he was a little bit nervy but that will do him the world of good. The only disappointment is that he’s not had the opportunity to keep a clean sheet if you like which would have been deserved.”

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