MICKY Barron admits that Hartlepool United’s fringe players have at last given manager Neale Cooper something to think about, writes CRAIG HOPE.
His reserve side were 2-0 winners at Bury yesterday – this on the back of three defeats – and the second-string coach says it was a much-improved display.
“Every one of the lads did better than what they have done so far,” he told SportMail.
“You want the boys to show something, show that they deserve to be involved with the first-team.
“So far this season they have not asked that question.
“The performances have not been up to scratch.
“But this was so much better.
“It might just make the manager think he could start using some of these players.”
Barron included Sam Collins, James Poole and Luke James for the trip to Greater Manchester.
James was forced off with a thigh complaint in the first half – although the injury isn’t thought to be serious – but Collins and Poole both impressed.
“Having Sam at the back was a big help to our younger lads,” said Barron, whose side tasted victory thanks to first-half goals from Nathan Luscombe and Greg Rutherford.
“He had a very good game. “James Poole was very bright and intelligent as well and made some great runs.
“But we had two first-year Academy lads making their first start, Brad Walker and Aaron Brown, and they were excellent.
“Brad got on the ball and wasn’t afraid to express himself.
“That is what we’d asked them to do.
“We changed the style a little bit and it worked.”
And Barron admits it was a relief to return home with a win to savour.
“We all know what it’s been like at first-team level recently so I said to the boys beforehand, ‘Let us come away from this game with something positive, be it a result or a performance’.
“We got both in the end and we got what we asked of them.”
Luscombe had opened the scoring with a cool finish after good work from Poole before Rutherford charged down the home goalkeeper with the ball crashing off his back and into the empty net.
Pools: McHugh, Richards, Buddle, Collins, Brown, Hawkins (Wignall 85), Walker, Luscombe, Rutherford, James (Bogey 30), Poole.
Subs not used: Tuck, Green, Foden.