Ex_boro forward Jonathan Franks has his moaners - including Hartlepool United boss Ronnie Moore

STRIKER OR WINGER: Jonathan Franks in action for Hartlepool United during their 2-1 home victory over Cambridge United Picture by FRANK REID

STRIKER OR WINGER: Jonathan Franks in action for Hartlepool United during their 2-1 home victory over Cambridge United Picture by FRANK REID

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RONNIE Moore admits he has been one of Jonathan Franks’s “biggest moaners” since taking charge but he insists there is no doubting his ability.

The main problem Moore is faced with, admits the Pools manager, is finding the forward’s best position.

The biggest problem with him is, is he a striker or a winger?

JONATHAN FRANKS

Since arriving at Hartlepool United, the former Middlesbrough youth has been deployed on either flank while also enjoying spells up front.

Playing as a striker is Franks’ favoured position and the 24-year-old has six goals to his name this campaign making him the leading overall scorer.

But Moore believes Franks should relish the fact he is comfortable playing on the wing or up front because that versatility means he is always likely to be in the side.

Indeed, since Moore took charge, Franks has started in all but two matches.

Speaking ahead of this afternoon’s trip to Newport County, Moore told SportMail: “Franksy does have his moaners because I have them sitting behind me!

“I have been one of his biggest too but he has ability, undoubted ability.

“The biggest problem with him is, is he a striker or a winger?

“If you ask him, he would probably say striker.

“He does fill both roles, he has played wide for us and he has linked up well with Ryan Bird and now with Jordan Hugill.

“He has that ability to go past people, he is quick, he can go past these man mountain defenders you get in League Two.

“He is little and has quick feet and he will cause problems.

“At the moment he is doing well and I am pleased for him. But I might change his position again.”

Whichever position Franks does play, Moore believes he is a big asset for the side.

Even though he had to have a quiet word with him at half-time in the recent win over Mansfield Town after shifting him out wide.

Moore added: “It was Mansfield where I changed him out wide and he had his bottom lip out, we had to clip him round the ear at half-time.

“It’s not about throwing the dummy out. We have to pick a team to win a game and it’s not about the individual.

“I keep saying to him he has two strings to his bow, if he is a striker who can also play wide then he gives me two options.

“I say to him, ‘don’t say you’re a striker because you have two opportunities to play in different systems’.

“He can even play in the pocket too as a No 10 because he has the ability to float around and at his age, he should enjoy playing wide or up front.

“Sometimes wingers are starved of the ball, but it’s about enjoying being a footballer.”

Moore will today be without Michael Woods (ankle), Scott Fenwick (ankle) and Matthew Bates (thigh), while Reading loanee Aaron Tshibola is a doubt with a groin strain.

Tommy Miller, Jack Compton and Marvin Morgan are all competing to get back into the squad.

Newport (likely): Day, Yakubu, Jones, Sandell, Jackson, Byrne, Porter, Minshull, Klukowski, O’Connor, Storey,

Subs: Feely, Chapman, Jeffers, Parker, Stephens, Tutonda, Collins

Pools (likely) (3-5-2): Flinders (C), Austin, Harrison, Mirfin, D Jones, Duckworth, Featherstone, Walker, Tshibola, Hugill, Franks.

Subs: Maxted, Richards, Hawkins, J Jones, Nelson-Addy, Harewood, Smith.