HARTLEPOOL United have struck an early blow in the summer transfer tussle with sought-after new boy Jonathan Franks revealing: “I felt more wanted here than anywhere else”.
Pools have beaten off competition from Doncaster Rovers, Scunthorpe United, Bournemouth and Yeovil Town – where Franks was recently on loan - to land the signature of the 22-year-old.
After an impressive stay at Huish Park – where he scored three times in 14 outings – and with his contract set to expire at Middlesbrough, Franks was one of the hottest properties on the market as the season drew to a close.
But it was Pools who fought their way to the front of the queue after boss Neale Cooper sold his vision for the club to the skilful forward.
“I felt wanted here and that is the main reason why I signed,” Franks told SportMail after penning his deal at Victoria Park.
“There were a few clubs in for me but the manager here made me feel so welcome and so did all of the staff really – they sold the club to me.
“I first spoke to the manager a few weeks ago but I wanted to get the season out of the way and then have a week with my parents and talk about what I wanted to do.
“It was a decision in the end which was quite easy because I felt most wanted here.
“That gives you so much confidence and you feel better within yourself.”
Franks made his senior debut at the Riverside three years ago this month and went on to appear 30 times for his boyhood club, netting three goals.
The Stockton-born star found first-team opportunity under Tony Mowbray limited having previously been a favourite of Gordon Strachan, and it appears he’s fond of his new Scottish mentor as well.
“The manager seems like a lovely man and my first impressions of him have been brilliant,” said the former England youth international.
“He told me how much he liked me and that makes a big difference.
“He’s looking to bring a few more players in as well over the summer and that’s good.
“He knows what he wants next year but we’ve got to put that into place on the pitch and hopefully I’ll be a big part of that.
“I’ve had a few conversations with him and he’s talked me through the club in and out.
“I want to be part of what he told me. I want to play regularly because I haven’t done that since I was playing under Gordon Strachan.
“So I’m hungry and can’t wait to get started – I’ve just got to do the stuff on the pitch now.”