Hartlepool United’s Laurent is hoping to be given Oxford chance

Josh Laurent in action against Accrington Stanley in midweek.
Josh Laurent in action against Accrington Stanley in midweek.
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Josh Laurent would love another chance “to show everyone” what he can do.

The midfielder is in contention for his second Hartlepool United start at Oxford United tomorrow.

Laurent, a transfer deadline day signing from Brentford, made an encouraging full debut for Pools in midweek, to follow on from a 30-minute sub appearance at Morecambe.

With only three games to go, the Londoner will have to wait and see whether he will get another opportunity at the Kassam Stadium.

“I would love to play, if selected,” he said.

“I know more what to expect from the game and this league now and I know I’m capable of doing more

“I just can’t wait to show everyone.”

After an uncertain start against Accrington in midweek, Laurent grew into the game.

The 20-year-old was not alone in not being ‘at the races’ in the first half as Accrington controlled the match.

But with sub Nicky Featherstone coming on at the interval, Pools saw more of the ball and play and we saw more of Laurent.

With Pools trailing 2-1 and desperately chasing an equaliser, he made a surging run from deep, leaving the away defence training.

His final touch in the area did not match his approach work, but it was a sign of promise and how he wants to play.

“I was excited to play but, personally, I thought I was average,” he said.

“I was disappointed in the first half and thought I was decent in the second half, in spells, I have more to learn and give.

“I like to play in any of the centre-midfield roles, pass the ball quickly.

“I like to be positive, get on the ball, a bit more running with it.

“I’m a very forward-thinking player, I like to break lines, try to hurt teams, make a goal or even score a goal for myself.

“I did get a couple of runs in.

“It was my first game and think there is more to come.”

Laurent was happier with his display in the 5-2 victory at Morecambe, where he came on as a second-half replacement for Jake Gray.

“That was a bit more like me, get the ball and move it quickly, I got forward a couple of times as well,” he told SportMail.

“The result of course was fantastic too! It was a good win and a really good team performance.

“It felt great to be a part of it and to have the fans accept me.”

Laurent joined Pools from Brentford in the final minutes of the January transfer window.

Previously a youth team player with QPR, the East Londoner stayed in the Sky Bet Championship after leaving Loftus Road by moving further west in the capital to the Bees.

After only one senior apperance and a one-month loan spell at Newport County, he spent most of his time at Griffin Park in the Development side.

But when Pools came in for him, he had no hesitation in making the 250-mile move to the North-East.

“Hartlepool were the first club to come in for me,” he explained. “They said ‘come here and have a chat, see if you like it’.

“As soon as I spoke to the chairman and he explained what he wanted to do with the club, I wanted to be a part of that.”

So, as an East End boy, did he even know where Hartlepool was?

“Yeah, yeah,” he laughed. “I knew where Hartlepool was!

“Aaron Tshibola is from my area and he did well here last season.

“I’ve known Jake Gray from youth team days at Wycombe and I know Rakish Bingham because we come from the same area.

“All the lads though have made me feel comfortable. “

Laurent has a special reason to want to start against Oxford tomorrow – his one and only Brentford appearance was at the Kassam Stadium and was not a happy one.

The Bees were stung 4-0 by the U’s in the Capital One Cup.

“The last time I played against them, I lost 4-0!” he said. “Not this time, we’re a better team, I think Oxford might get a surprise from what they might see from us.

“I’ve been really happy since I signed.

“The gaffer has come in and made things a lot better in terms of how we’re playing, the style of football and it’s showing on the pitch.

“The results improved, the football has been good and everyone around the place has been really happy.

“You can see it in the way we train and the way we play.”