Hartlepool United new boys ready for FA Cup debuts against Cheltenham Town?

Hartlepool United manager Ronnie Moore during their 1-0 loss at Exeter City. Picture by FRANK REID
Hartlepool United manager Ronnie Moore during their 1-0 loss at Exeter City. Picture by FRANK REID

Ronnie Moore has “tried the experienced route” at Hartlepool United.

Now, his journey has taken a different turn.

Pools will line up for tomorrow’s FA Cup first round confrontation with Cheltenham Town with at least two new signings in their squad.

Moore yesterday added midfielder Jake Gray to the centre-half he signed 24 hours earlier, Adam Jackson.

Whether Jackson starts is open to debate – Scott Harrison will return from his one-match suspension and will replace Magnus Okuonghae who has not been released by Luton Town to play in the FA Cup.

Moore is likely to favour the central defensive pairing of Harrison and Matthew Bates, who was excellent at the back at Wimbledon last Saturday.

Gray, who has featured in Crystal Palace’s Premier League squad this season, is almost certain to start as Moore looks for “energy” in the centre of the park.

The 19-year-old who, ironically, spent a month on loan at Cheltenham at the start of this year, will link up with either Nicky Featherstone or Michael Woods in the middle.

Moore said he was pleased to have freshened up his squad and could still add another player as he’s still awaiting call-backs from clubs.

“We’ve tried the experienced route,” said Moore. “Jake will give us a bit of energy, enthusiasm, a bit of life in there.

“When you make so many signings it’s difficult – you are very lucky if they all gel.

“We thought we’d got the jackpot when we won those first four games of the season.

“But it does take time and I don’t think our supporters or I have seen the best of some of our new signings.

“There are one or two who are may be lacking a bit of confidence and have not produced what we know they can.

“It’s up to me to get that out of them now, but if we can’t get it at this moment, we have to move on, we can’t wait forever.

“The chairman has been fantastic saying we can go out to bring in whoever you want to bring in.

“Hopefully these two or three signings we’re getting in will bring a bit of fresh air.

“Adam is also available, we spoke with Boro and they said he can play.

“I know I’ve spoken about getting some experienced centre-backs in and we’ve tried and tried and tried.

“But if there are no experienced players out there then we have to try to get the best kids.

“Adam will bring some confidence to us, he’s got a bit of power, he reads the game well.

“He’s a bit like when I had Ben Gibson on loan at Tranmere.

“He’s a young lad who wants to do well and, fingers crossed, he’ll play.

“Luton won’t allow Magnus to play in the FA Cup and he also has an injury to his foot, which he is getting a scan on.

“With him out, we have got a young lad in who is on top of his game at this present time.”

Moore will probably make at least two other changes to his starting XI.

Scott Fenwick looks set for his first start since the home defeat by Bristol Rovers with Rakish Bingham likely to move down to the bench, where Moore could use him as an impact sub when opposition legs are beginning to tire.

There could also be an outing for summer signing Kudus Oyenuga.

Moore opted to bring on the Londoner as his first sub at Wimbledon last week and while the winger did not stand out, he was eager to get the ball and went close with an overhead kick.

Pools (possible): Carson, Duckworth Harrrison, Bates, Carroll, Oates, Gray, Woods, Oyenuga, Fenwick, Paynter.

Subs (from): Bartlett, Jones, Jackson, Featherstone, Walker, Banton, Bingham, Smith