Hartlepool boss admits he’s got lucky with strike partnership

CELEBRATION: Ryan Bird wheels away
CELEBRATION: Ryan Bird wheels away

RONNIE Moore admits he may have struck lucky with his new strike partnership – Ryan Bird and Jonathan Franks.

The pair put in a real shift for the team in last night’s 2-0 win over Oxford United, only the second time they had played together.

WORK-RATE: Franks

WORK-RATE: Franks

Bird scored his second in Pools colours in the 33rd minute to give Moore’s side the lead and he should have scored a second from the penalty spot.

Moore, though, was delighted to see the 27-year-old net the opener and said he felt Franks deserved one too for his effort, work-rate and “cleverness”.

Pools have struggled to score all season but have three in their past two matches to put a small dent in the goal difference of minus 29.

And with Marvin Morgan and Marlon Harewood out of favour and Scott Fenwick still at least a fortnight away, Moore is pleased with his new-look strikeforce.

Sometimes you hit upon it by accident and get a bit lucky.

Ronnie Moore

Moore told SportMail: “I think we have stuck upon a good partnership.

“Sometimes you hit upon it by accident and get a bit lucky.

“Morgan wasn’t playing particularly well, Harewood wasn’t either and Fenwick is out injured.

“And you think to yourself, where do we go from here?

“Who will run about and chase and harry? I put Connor Smith up there but he is only young and is still learning although he has a bright future.

“But to be fair, Franksy is clever and has a goal in him, there is no doubt about that.

“They both did well and it was pleasing for Ryan that he scored – they both deserved a goal really for their effort.”

Moore admitted afterwards that there wasn’t a designated penalty taker on the pitch.

So when Johnny Mullins handled the ball in the 51st minute and referee Patrick Miller pointed to the spot, Bird quickly grabbed the ball.

He missed but, ironically, usual penalty taker Neil Austin scored the rebound, high into the net.

Moore revealed he couldn’t watch the penalty be taken, he was that nervous.

But as soon as he was mobbed by the rest of the Pools bench, he knew his side had taken a 2-0 lead.

He added: “We hadn’t said who would take a penalty so [Ryan] decided to take it.

“I couldn’t look at it though, which is unusual for me.

“I heard the lads on the bench cheering and knew we’d scored.

“It was nice – and a huge relief – when it went in.”