Mikael Mandron must “grow up” quickly and adapt to the rigours of “men’s” football.
That was the blunt message from Hartlepool United manager Ronnie Moore for the on-loan Sunderland forward.
This is a man’s game, he’s had a rude awakening and he has to grow upRonnie Moore
Moore is not ungrateful to the Black Cats and their manager, Sam Allardyce, for allowing the young prospect to come down the A19 to Victoria Park.
Mandron, who has been at the Premier League club for three years, has had a goodstart to the season for Sunderland’s U21 side.
But the Pools boss says the Frenchman must adapt to the rigours of League Two football - and fast.
“I think Mikael has found out how tough it is,” said Moore, who is desperate to make the striker a success.
“That Under 21 league is a boys league.
“This is a man’s game. I said to him that he’s had a rude awakening and he has to grow up.
“He’s not my player, he’s Sunderland’s, but while he’s with us he is my player.”
Mandron has been selected as the principal central striker for the last two matches after Moore returned to his early-season 4-3-3 system.
And the the manager had some sympathy for the ex-Le Havre forward at Salford in the second round tie which finished 1-1.
“I’m trying to get him to play that lone role,” said Moore.
“It is difficult, but we didn’t get support up there for him.”
Mandron was not alone in his struggles at Moor Lane, several others experienced an off-night against the Evo Stik Premier Division side.
Pools were given a lightning start by Rhys Oates, but then did not play any football until the second period.
Moore said he found the mentallity of the players difficult to fathom.
“It’s hard to understand why we played like we did in the first half,” he said.
“It’s a job for the psychologists, they [the players] talked the talk but it’s about getting out and doing it.”
One of the few positives was the performance of Oates, who took the game to the non-leaguers, certainly in the first half while he set up Scott Fenwick for one of the chances of the night late on.
“Salford couldn’t cope with Oatesy in the first half, but un the second, he’s barely had a kick,” said Moore.
“Everything came through him, with his pace, him getting forward, but we can’t do it with just one man.”
The Pools chief is unlikely to change much for Saturday’s League Two trip to high-fliers Portsmouth.
Moore will probably perservere with Mandron, who has been brought in to fill the void left by Billy Paynter.
The Pools skipper - and leading scorer - is out until February with Achilles trouble.
Mandron fits the bill, physically at least, at 6ft 3in, and is due to stay at Pools until January 3.
Moore will hope he comes good, starting at Pompey this weekend.