Hartlepool United boss has hopes for ex-Bradford striker Nialle Rodney

GOAL: Nialle Rodney scored for Pools at Almere City
GOAL: Nialle Rodney scored for Pools at Almere City

COLIN Cooper says that only one man will determine whether trialist Nialle Rodney remains at Hartlepool United – the striker himself.

The 22-year-old was scorer of Pools’ only goal as they were beaten 3-1 by Almere City in Holland last night.

The friendly marked Cooper’s first game in charge of the club and included the two players he has already brought to Victoria Park, the ex-Bradford City pair of Rodney and free-transfer signing Jack Compton.

The new boss has made no secret of his desire to add pace to his side’s attacking unit and both players certainly boast a turn of foot.

For Rodney, though, he must first impress over the coming matches if he is to win a permanent stay.

“We’ll have to see how it goes but he knows the situation,” Cooper explained to SportMail today.

“He’s here on trial and I’ve given him an opportunity because I saw a lot at Bradford which we can work on.

“Things haven’t worked out for him in the last year or so.

“He’s here for two weeks with us and after that we’ll give him a decision.

“But that decision we make is ultimately down to him and how he does in that time.”

Last night’s efforts would certainly have done his cause no harm.

His goal levelled Almere’s opener and came after a game of head tennis inside the penalty area culminated in his sharp swivel and close-range volley.

There were other flashes of pace and composure, but also evidence of his raw nature.

Indeed, Rodney has only played eight league matches in his career, five coming at Bradford where he worked with Cooper.

And the Pools manager believes the Nottingham-born frontman has serious scope for improvement.

“I know him well and there is loads to work with,” Cooper went on.

“Because of his academy education he can handle a football, we saw that last night.

“But he also has good pace and can score a goal.

“So those are three things in a striker which you need.

“I thought he was smashing last night he did well.

“That goal will do him no harm at all but he has to show more as well now.

“It’s down to him.”