, ‘He’s important to us’ – Middlesbrough youngster out on loan impressing new boss

‘He’s important to us’ – Middlesbrough youngster out on loan impressing new boss

Middlesbrough youngster Brad James has been impressing Hartlepool United manager Dave Challinor whilst on loan at the non-league club.

Middlesbrough allowed the goalkeeper to depart on an emergency loan deal and James has helped Hartlepool in their pursuit of regaining their EFL status.

Pools were relegated from League Two on the final day of the 2016-17 season and have struggled to get back there in each of their subsequent three seasons. That was until the 2020-21 campaign, in which they finished fourth and achieved a place in the play-offs.

But a serious injury to first-choice goalkeeper Ben Killip two months ago meant that James had big boots to fill. He has done competently and is now being shown faith from manager Dave Challinor more and more.

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Speaking to The Hartlepool Mail, Challinor spoke highly of James, stating that he was an important player for the club.

“[James] won’t have played in an atmosphere like that before, he has now done it in two weeks on the spin,” said the Pools boss after their 3-2 win over Bromley last week.

“He had no real chance with the two goals, two poor goals from our perspective with set-pieces which we need to do better in.”

“He’s come and taken things, he’s important to us.

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“Brad has done well for us and is part of a team that has progressed, certainly not comfortably but certainly did more than enough and the score line was probably a lot closer than the game was.”

James will likely continue in goal when they take on Stockport County in the play-off semi finals this Sunday at midday. The winner of Torquay United and Notts County will be waiting anxiously to see who they face in the play-off final come Sunday 20th June.

Prior to joining Hartlepool, the 21-year-old had prior non-league experience with loan spells at both Gateshead and Aldershot Town.

He will re-join Middlesbrough at the end of his short-term loan and presumably will be a part of the squad and setup when their pre-season campaign gets underway in around a months time.

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