HARTLEPOOL United boss Mick Wadsworth is continuing to run the rule over a trio of teenage trialists.
The three 18-year-olds all started yesterday’s reserve-team draw at Grimsby Town.
Midfielder James Gray, who will be released by Middlesbrough at the end of the season, scored Pools’ first goal at Blundell Park.
He was born in Yarm but has represented Northern Ireland at youth level and can also operate as a striker.
George Mboa also played the full 90 minutes against the Mariners.
He was an unused substitute for Vauxhall Motors when Pools won 1-0 in the FA Cup Second Round replay at Rivacre Park in November.
Cameroon-born Mboa came through the ranks at Liverpool’s Academy before moving to Southport and then onto Vauxhall last summer.
Meanwhile, Leeds United forward Jonny Birbeck was playing his second game for Pools having featured in last week’s 2-1 win over Middlesbrough.
Also involved in that game was French full-back Jean-Luc Mendy, but the 20-year-old has since been released having failed to impress Wadsworth and his backroom team.
“He looked a good footballer but I wasn’t too keen on him to be honest, not what we really need for next season,” said the Pools chief.
“Technically he was very good but on the physical side he wasnt quite up to it and his English isn’t that great either and that’s always a big issue.”
The three remaining trialists will get a further chance to catch the eye when Micky Barron’s second-string take on Lincoln City at Sincil Bank next Wednesday afternoon
micky Barron was disappointed that his second-string were unable to build upon last week’s impressive victory over Middlesbrough.
Pools were headed for defeat at Blundell Park until Academy striker Billy Greulich salvaged a last-minute point.
But boss Barron was far from satisfied with the performance, especially as it came on the back of that 2-1 win over an experienced Boro side.
“It wasn’t particularly good overall to be honest,” he said.
“I thought Grimsby were probably the better of the two teams and there weren’t enough of our players on top of their games.
“We improved a little bit in the second half but we didn’t come anywhere near the standard we saw against Middlesbrough last week.”
Gray cancelled out the 20th-minute opener of Mariners namesake Mark Gray when he fired home a 20-yard free-kick, albeit with the aid of a deflection, on the stroke of half-time.
Town, though, regained the lead when Gray capitalised upon some sloppy home defending to bag his second on 55 minutes.
But Greulich, making his return from injury, popped up in the 90th minute to rescue a point for the visitors, steering home at the far post after Denis Behan had helped on a long throw.
Pools: Rafferty,Purvis, Holden, P Johnson, Bjornsson, Mackay (Greulich 65), Mboa, Gray, Richards (Martin 65), Behan, Birbeck (Rowbotham 46).