Billy Paynter ‘crying out’ for Peterborough striker Luke James to get Hartlepool United goal

Luke James going through the pain barrier for Pools at Leyton Orient . Picture: Frank Reid
Luke James going through the pain barrier for Pools at Leyton Orient . Picture: Frank Reid
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Billy Paynter is “crying out”for Luke James to get on the scoresheet again.

The Hartlepool United skipper has marvelled at the attitude and workrate of the 21-year-old forward and says he deserves a goal.

Luke has played out of position but he’s never sulked, he’s a true professional

BILLY PAYNTER

James joined Pools in February on a half-season loan from Peterborough.

He has made 11 appearances in his second spell at his beloved club and Paynter believes it is matter of time before he finds the net.

James was tremendous again in the 2-0 win at Leyton Orient, where he had a part in the opener, scored by the captain from Jake Carroll’s teasing cross into the home six-yard box.

“It’s definitely coming,” said Paynter, who will lead Pools in Saturday’s home game with Mansfield. “Luke was unfortunate on Friday, hitting the post against Wimbledon.

“I am crying out for him to get that goal because he is really putting it in.

“Luke has played out of position but he’s never sulked, he’s a true professional.

“He doesn’t moan or groan, he gets on with his work and has a great attitude.”

James has not scored since March last year, when he bagged a goal for Peterborough in their win at Doncaster Rovers in League One.

He spent the first half of this season on loan at Bradford City and while he was invariably selected in the matchday 18 by Bantams boss Phil Parkinson, he only made four starts.

Former Pools boss Ronnie Moore brought him back to the Vic and James has soon got back into his stride, certainly in terms of his work-rate.

The Amble-born striker was denied by the woodwork on Good Friday and headed just over at Orient after getting to a misplaced clearance, but given he is not in the central role, chances have not really been forthcoming, possibly one per match.

He has operated on the right side of Paynter in a 4-3-3/ 4-5-1 formation, a system which has brought results for Pools.

The unbeaten run stands at six games – the last four all being clean sheets, three on the road.

Paynter admits he sometimes finds his own role frustrating, but adds that you can’t argue with results and is enjoying his football as much as ever.

“There are times I have felt frustrated, isolated,” he explained. “But the gameplan is working, everything is knitting together.

“It’s been good since I came back from injury, the team is playing well and every time I step on the pitch I am going to get chances to score.”

Pools have surpassed their best run of results this season, when they won the opening four games of the campaign.

And Paynter feels that start was something of a false dawn as they steadily slipped from those heady days in third place as the results began to dry up.

“That [start] might have been our downfall – maybe we got over-confident, taken our foot off the gas.

“Once you get one or two defeats, your confidence takes a knock and you can quickly find yourself in a bit of a hole.

“But now? We are in good form – the last four games have been great, four clean sheets.”