Antony Sweeney and Nolberto Solano’s returns from injury are timely interventions for Hartlepool United. Pools managed to get themselves back to winning ways at the weekend with a 2-0 victory over Scunthorpe United. The match coincided with both players returning to the starting elven and Sweeney making the score sheet, as the team thrived having them both back.
The team’s strength in all honesty is not amazing, and when the club tend to lose key players like Sweeney and Solano, it is hard to sustain morale and gain results. The club is run on a tight budget and most of the players bought in, like many others are usually free transfers. Thus it is hard to replace quality with quality when players go missing through injuries. Due to this, Hartlepool’s results always seem to deteriorate around Christmas, and it is around this time of year things start to take a turn for the worse.
Having said all this strength of the squad looks better this season more than most. So much so, that when Mick Wadsworth was asked if he thought the strength of the squad would need improving when the loan market re-opens, the manager stated he would be sticking by his current bunch of players. On the whole supporters agree with his belief, though sometimes Hartlepool can lack goals and another striking option would not be a bad move. Missing out on Lomano Tresor Lua Lua was upsetting as he chose to join Blackpool, after training with Pools – but bringing someone else in would be what fans want to see.
Looking back at Saturday’s action and Pools performance, it was nice to see the club back to winning ways and in the goals. Solano provided the width in order to exploit the Scunthorpe defence while Sweeney’s drive and determination helped to give the side more of an offensive threat. Pools have an excellent record of just one defeat in nine away league games and this showed on Saturday, it was pleasing to see everyone pulling together to put in a performance.
Thinking about the opposition and Hartlepool as a small club, it is amazing to think that they have just given a team who were recently a Championship outfit a good beating. However with Scunthorpe struggling and expectation levels being so high these days it is something one has to expect. As a Pools follower, I will always be proud of the club and how far they have come, and still continue to progress for such a small town and club.
This season the main question is can the club kick on through the Christmas period? The answer is most definitely yes. The manager is adamant the players have learnt from last year’s mistakes. The fixture list looks unkind to Pools going into the new year, but if they can continue to pick up points and at least not lose games over the festive period, it may just prove to good season for Hartlepool.
Written by John Mason, We Are Going Up’s Hartlepool United Blogger
John tweets at @john_mason29