Terry McPhillips says two-goal forward Joe Dodoo has put himself right in the running for a League One start at Southend on Saturday.
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Having scored in last weekend’s FA Cup victory at Exeter City, the loanee from Rangers netted a brace in last night’s 3-2 Checkatrade Trophy win over Accrington Stanley.
The 23-year-old hasn’t started a league game since early September but McPhillips says he has put himself in the frame.
“Fair play to Joe,” the Pool boss said. “I thought he was excellent on Saturday and he’s backed it up in this game. His goals were really good.
“He didn’t do as well as he did with his all-round game on Saturday but he’s staking a claim. He’s got three goals in two matches, so I’m pleased for him.”
Dodoo was replaced by Steve Davies after an hour. That, McPhillips says, was with an eye to saving him for Southend.
He added: “You don’t take strikers off who have scored two goals – he won’t like me very much. I did have a word with him at half-time and said, ‘You’ve got 15 minutes to get your next goal because I’m taking you off after 60’.
“He was as good as gold and he’s done himself no harm. That’s what these games are all about, staking a claim, and he’s certainly done that.”
Despite the win the Seasiders are out, Macclesfield’s 2-1 win over West Brom Under-21 seeing them qualify with Stanley.
McPhillips added: “All we could do was try and win and we did, so that was good. We’re really pleased to get the win and that’s three on the bounce now.
“The result didn’t go for us elsewhere, which means we’re out. We had a good run in the Carabao Cup and we want to do well in the FA Cup too.
“We had a slow start but got better. A few tackles flew in and woke our lads up. From then on we got into it. We did better second half.
“It was a good derby, plenty of action. There were poor decisions from the players and the referee, but some real quality as well.”