RONNIE Moore admits Jack Compton is a bit like Marmite – you either love him or you hate him.
But he says the winger has set his own standards now after a dazzling display in the win over Northampton Town.
The winger had been dropped from the squad altogether for the trip to Portsmouth but Moore restored him to the starting line-up last night and he was back with a bang.
Marvin Morgan scored the winner at Victoria Park but it was Compton that was the driving force behind the victory.
The 26-year-old, who hadn’t started for three matches, had the better of the Northampton defence all night and was Pools’ main attacking threat, going close twice in the second-half.
It resulted in a man of the match performance and his boss now wants him to repeat that level of performance every week.
Moore said: “Jack is like Marmite, you either love him or you hate him.
“But that is because of the way he is but when he gets his head right he can be a big threat and he was all night against Northampton.
“I thought he was immense, Jack set the standards and that is the standard we need.
“If he puts that shift in then we will win more than we lose.
“He has a chip on his shoulder - I don’t know why.
“But he could do with one on the other shoulder as well so he is evenly balanced and that will make him an even better player!” joked Moore, who switched to a 4-4-2 formation, with Compton and Jonathan Franks on the flanks.
Moore told SportMail that he had talks with Compton following the weekend, when he didn’t even make the matchday squad at Fratton Park.
After the match he was involved in a Twitter spat with teammate Scott Harrison after making reference to the fact Pools hadn’t had a shot on target against Portsmouth.
Talks had also been held on Deadline Day over a possible swap deal involving him and ex-Pools forward Andy Monkhouse, now at Bristol Rovers.
His future appeared bleak but he bounced back strongly last night, playing like he had a point to prove.
Moore added: “We had an open discussion with the players and had a chat and hopefully Jack has learned a little bit and grown up a little bit.
“He can be a sulky so and so.
“Jack thinks he should be playing for Real Madrid but he is not.
“He is at Hartlepool United and he needs to adapt to that and prove week in and week out that he should be in the team.
“There is no doubting his ability, if he gets his head right then there’s a hell of a player there.”
While Compton shone, the match was won thanks to Morgan’s 51st minute strike.
When asked if Moore was confident the big striker would finish the chance, he said: “I wasn’t totally confident! No, I’m only joking, he steadied himself and finished it well.
“He is a decent finisher when he gets in those areas but he is lacking that match fitness.
“It will take time but we haven’t got time.
“If it means running out of energy after 60 minutes then do it and we’ll make the changes.”
Morgan started alongside Marlon Harewood, with in-form Scott Fenwick missing through an ankle injury picked up on Monday.
Moore said: “Fenwick is a doubt for Saturday [against Stevenage] with his ankle.
“Matthew Bates is touch and go too, he had some really bad swelling from the dead leg.”