Hartlepool Utd boss believes new boy can take league One by storm

Hartlepool United boss Neale Cooper
Hartlepool United boss Neale Cooper

NEALE Cooper believes that Jonathan Franks has the “hunger” to take League One by storm next season.

The livewire forward is yet to clock up 50 senior appearances despite being 22 years old.

He turned pro at Middlesbrough in 2008 but found first-team opportunity scarce and left the Riverside this month having made just 10 starts for his boyhood club.

But Cooper believes that is no bad thing.

Instead, the Pools boss insists that summer signing Franks arrives at Victoria Park with a point to prove, especially given the pedigree which saw the former England youth international make his professional debut as a teenager in the Premier League.

“Jonathan is hungry and fresh,” said Cooper today, “He’s got good experience but hasn’t played too many games, so he’ll be looking forward to being part of a squad on a regular basis.

“I think that will help him and he’ll definitely come here with a point to prove.

“He’s a good age as well and you never know where he can go from here because he has that ability in his bag.

“He knows he’s got to bring all of his game together and perform consistently at this level now.

“But he’s a nice boy as well and I think he’ll fit in with us.

“Ability wise, he has exactly what we lack - he’s exciting, he’s dynamic, he’s got a direct pace and can play either side or through the middle.”

Franks became Cooper’s first addition of the summer last week when he joined on a free transfer from the Teessiders.

The Scottish chief identified five players who would be his preferred close-season signings when he sat down with the club’s hierarchy earlier this month.

And Franks was one of those who featured at the summit of his list of transfer targets.

“There were a few teams in for him but he was one of our main targets, so I was chuffed to get him,” said Cooper.

“We just missed out when he went to Yeovil on loan earlier this season and I’ve obviously kept tabs on him since then.

“He did well down there with three goals in 14 games and they were obviously keen to sign him.

“But when I made a list of my preferred four or five players he was right up there.

“We know we won’t get all of them and we’ve got other options beneath them, but it’s a good start to get Jonathan and we’re hoping for a few more through the door yet.”