Hartlepool United’s Craig Hignett praises quality of ex-West Ham star Marlon Harewood

Luke James in action against Rochdale. Photograph by FRANK REID

Luke James in action against Rochdale. Photograph by FRANK REID

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MARLON Harewood has completed his first day as a Hartlepool United player – and he has “fitted in” straight away.

That was the verdict of assistant manager Craig Hignett, who put the new signing through his paces at the club’s training ground.

ON THE TRAINING GROUND: Marlon Harewood. Picture courtesy of www.hartlepoolunited.co.uk

ON THE TRAINING GROUND: Marlon Harewood. Picture courtesy of www.hartlepoolunited.co.uk

The Pools squad had a double session yesterday at Maiden Castle where Harewood impressed.

Despite not having been involved in day-to-day training since his release from Bristol City, the 34-year-old showed no signs of ‘ring rust’.

“He looked absolutely fine,” Hignett reported.

“I agree with Coops, he’s the right person at the right time.

“I’m delighted he chose to come to us and I think he’s the type of player we’ve been missing.

“Coops has known him a long time and has nothing but praise for him as a person and as a player.

“It was his first session for 10 days and I think he’d had a reserve game at Bristol City before he left them.

“But his fitness looked fine and he was pretty sharp.

“Because he didn’t play a lot at Bristol, he’ll need a couple of games to get up to speed.

“But you could see his quality in training yesterday and he’s fitted straight in.

“He’s played at some top clubs and gone for a lot of money in his time.

“I love his attitude. He has had a fantastic career and played up in the Premier League, but he’s a very grounded and humble person.

“The desire is there to not only play - he wants to do well for Pools and the bonus is he really wants to help the young players here.”

Hignett and Cooper have resisted any temptation to give Harewood a run around in the reserve ream tonight against Scunthorpe at Bedford Terrace.

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“No, Marlon won’t be involved this evening,” Higgy told SportMail.

“He had his medical Monday, met the lads then had a full day training yesterday.

“It’s important he gets a couple more days training in and then we’ll see on Friday how he is.”

Harewood will certainly feature in some shape or form at Fleetwood this Saturday, when Pools desperately need a result after back-to-back 3-0 home defeats.

The arrival of the London-born striker, who has 137 career goals to his name, will not be a magic wand for Pools.

However, his mere signing will provide a lift in morale and release some pressure on top scorer Luke James.

The teen sensation raced to 10 goals in rapid time but has not found the net since mid-November against Northampton Town.

Hignett added: “I think he’ll take a lot of pressure off Luke.

“He’s been brilliant this season, scoring goals and chasing and harrying defenders non-stop.

“But having Marlon here now will be a massive help.”