Hasselbaink earmarks midfield role for Poole as Cobblers boss praises Hanley's attitude

Regan Poole could become a regular fixture in the Cobblers midfield this season following his first outing in the role during Tuesday's defeat to Wigan, at least according to his manager.

Regan Poole made only his second Cobblers start at the DW Stadium. Picture: Sharon Lucey
Regan Poole made only his second Cobblers start at the DW Stadium. Picture: Sharon Lucey

Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink deployed Poole as a holding midfielder alongside Yaser Kasim for the trip to the DW Stadium, a position he has previously played for Wales U21s and Manchester United’s youth teams.

It was initially thought Hasselbaink selected the Manchester United teenager merely as a temporary measure due to the absence of four more experience midfielders, but it seems Tuesday might not be the last time Poole is seen in midfield.

“I think he did well,” said Hasselbaink on the 19-year-old. “He’s not mainly a defender, if you look at the Wales national squad he plays as a sitting midfielder.

“That’s where we see him. We see him as a sitting midfielder and I know in the youth he has played centre-half but there (on Tuesday) he was one of the bigger boys.”

Poole himself was asked about where his preference lies, replying: “Wherever the gaffer wants me to play I’ll play.

“I am naturally a centre-half but I’ve played in midfield quite a bit for United and for Wales so I don’t mind playing there.

“I’m happy to play in that position and I enjoy it. I’d like to play more, whether it’s as a centre-back or a central midfield I don’t mind.”

Poole’s selection was not the only talking point on Tuesday, with Raheem Hanley also a surprise starter.

The 23-year-old looked destined to leave Sixfields in the summer having fallen out of favour under previous manager Justin Edinburgh.

But Hasselbaink has given everyone a clean slate since his appointment and Hanley seems to have grabbed the opportunity with both hands, so much so he was given his very first Cobblers start for Tuesday’s game, 15 months after signing for the club.

“Raheem played really well,” said Hasselbaink.

“Since I’ve come in he’s done really well in training so he deserved the opportunity.

“We thought he should get the chance and that’s why we played him.”