MICKY Barron admits Hartlepool United will at times have to call upon their young guns during the relegation run-in.
Pools lost striker Charlie Wyke yesterday, the Middlesbrough loanee returning to his parent club for treatment on a hip injury.
He will not feature again this season and, having allowed Steve Howard to join Sheffield Wednesday on loan last month, Pools are low on numbers in the attacking areas, especially given James Poole’s lingering knee injury.
But Luke James proved his value to the cause with a man-of-the-match display during Saturday’s 2-0 win over Bury.
The 18-year-old had been in free-scoring form for Barron’s reserves before being handed his first league start of the campaign at the weekend.
James was joined by fellow young pro Darren Holden in the starting line-up against The Shakers, while Greg Rutherford and debutant Zak Boagey came from the bench late on.
And Barron believes John Hughes will again turn to those junior squad members during the final three fixtures of the season.
“I thought both Darren and Luke did very well on Saturday,” the former Pools favourite told SportMail.
“Luke showed that he doesn’t have to have the greatest game to make an impact and their staff said afterwards that they couldn’t handle him.
“You can guarantee he’ll run and chase and not give defenders a second.
“I’ve spoken about it before but that can make that difference with his enthusiasm.
“Yes, we’ve got other areas of his game to work on, but he did well at the weekend and we were delighted with him.”