Pools boss Dave Jones: No problems playing Brad Walker in defence again

Pools' Brad Walker. Picture by Frank Reid
Pools' Brad Walker. Picture by Frank Reid
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Dave Jones will have no hesitation in playing Brad Walker again at the heart of the Hartlepool United defence.

The midfielder deputised so well for Matthew Bates after the experienced centre-half limped off at Luton Town that he my well get the job on more than a part-time basis.

Walker was the pick of the crop at Kenilworth Road, pretty much muzzling the dangerous Danny Hylton who had scored the first of the Town goals.

The 20-year-old switched to the defence with Pools 2-0 down and formed a very good partnership with Scott Harrison.

Central defenders, or experienced ones, are thin on the ground at the Northern Gas & Power Stadium.

Rob Jones is out injured, while Liam Donnelly, who missed Tuesday night’s match at Kenilworth Road with an ankle problem, has been playing right-back.

Pools do have two young centre-backs on their books, ex-Newcastle youth player Ben Pollock and former QPR product Harly Wise.

But with automatic promotion favourites Plymouth up next at the Vic, would Dave Jones have any worries selecting Walker there again?

“No, I wouldn’t,” said the manager. “He’s strong , he’s quick, he covers the ground well.

“He gets into position quickly, he read everything right.”

Bates was hurt early, receiving treatment as early as the fifth minute for a thigh problem foloowing the Luton opener.

He stayed on but after stretching when trying to cut out the long ball which led to Luke Gambin putting the Hatters two up, he was forced off, prompting Jones to send Walker back into defence.

“It was something I was pondering,” said the boss.

“I had a 5ft 2in left-back, so I made up my mind to put Brad there, he’s big enough and strong enough.

“He didn’t let anyone down.

“Both he and Scott stood their ground well and were comfortable bringing out the ball.

“You could not have asked for two players to perform any better.”

Hylton only got the better of the pair once, beating both with some neat footwork in the second half before firing over.

But, overall, the duo looked solid, almost serene at times, though Jones admitted Harrison blotted his copybook 10 minutes from time, losing the ball to Ollie Palmer.

The sub scored the match-clinching third after the loose ball dropped to his feet in the area after Walker’s attempted clearance hit Nicky Featherstone.

“Scott ruined it because he’s not put the ball out,” said Jones.

“He should have put it into row Z and then re-grouped.

“But I can’t fault him in another way because he was trying to keep the ball alive so we can chase a goal at 2-0 down.”