Hartlepool boss Dave Jones has faith in youth

Andrew Nelson
Andrew Nelson
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Dave Jones believes his decision to go for young signings at Hartlepool United will bear fruit.

The Pools boss made three signings in the January window – keeper Joe Fryer and attackers, Andrew Nelson and Louis Rooney.

Louis came close to scoring, for a debut you couldn’t fault him – or Andrew either.

All three were instantly included in the squad for Saturday’s League Two draw with Yeovil Town and will again feature at Mansfield on Saturday.

Nelson and Rooney both started against the Glovers with Fryer the cover on the bench for Adam Bartlett.

The two forwards enjoyed excellent debuts while Fryer was able to show his ability in midweek for the reserves in their 2-1 win over, ironically, Mansfield.

Fryer is likely to have to exercise patience for his League Two break, but Jones will have no hesitation in unleashing Nelson and Rooney again at Field Mill.

“People asked at a forum with fans on Friday why we brought in young players instead of experience,” said the manager.

“But the fans saw why against Yeovil.

“One is slightly more experienced [Rooney], but they will give us something and something different and that’s important.

“Louis came close to scoring, for a debut you couldn’t fault him – or Andrew either.”

Rooney could easily have ended his Northern Gas & Power bow with a hat-trick and Nelson with a treble of assists.

The Sunderland U23 forward set up the second-half home goal for Padraig Amond and also supplied two cracking chances for Rooney.

Both debutants certainly gained top marks for effort and energy,

“I think fans like to see the players committed,” said Jones.

That vibrant approach is just what the Pools manager is looking for from Pools on a regular basis.

And he says when you play that way, the ability to kill off opponents.

“We started well [against Yeovil] and it’s hard work to keep it going,” explained Jones. “That’s when you need the second and third goals, to rip the guts out of a team and then you can slow it down.

“We are energetic – we have quick players, we are trying to move the ball around at speed.

“You saw that with our goal on Saturday and we are creating openings.

“We are changing everything really [in the style played].

“The players have adapted and responded, but we have to get better at it.”

Not only did Pools show ambition going forward, there were signs of solidity at the back, with Yeovil’s two clearest chances coming from a penalty and free-kick, rather than from open play.

“They were another big side, but we were solid,” added Jones.

“We defended better than the previous week and that’s what we asked of them, so they are learning and listening.”