MICHAEL Woods has been tipped to play at a level beyond League Two by his impressed Hartlepool United manager.
The 24-year-old signed for Pools in the summer after spending last season at non-league Harrogate Town after falling down the league pyramid.
He has only started two games so far for Pools this season - against Port Vale in the Capital One Cup and Dagenham & Redbridge in the league - and was an unused substitute in last week weekend’s win over Shrewsbury Town.
But he did score a hat-trick in the reserve game last week at Billingham.
His three goals against Burton Albion’s second string certainly caught the eye of manager Colin Cooper, who heaped praise on the summer signing ahead of today’s match with Tranmere Rovers at Victoria Park.
Pools are expected to name an unchanged side after last weekend’s impressive 2-0 win over Shrewsbury but Woods has been tipped to be a success over the coming weeks and months.
Woods’ career so far has been one of ups and downs, it is fair to say.
The highly-rated midfielder was much sought after as a youngster and played for Leeds United and Chelsea before then having spells at Notts County, Yeovil, Doncaster and Harrogate.
But Cooper is adamant he will be a star for Hartlepool United.
Cooper said: “I brought Michael in and I know he can score from a midfield role or an advanced midfield role.
“He has proved so for the reserves, where we’ve been seeing him play a little more advanced, if not off a striker then in behind and making intelligent runs, and finishing well.
“I know Michael can do that.
“Having come from where he has, it may take him a few weeks and months to get into the swing of things again, but I know that when he gets into the swing of league football again, he will be more than capable of playing in this division and probably beyond.”
Cooper believes the supporters at Victoria Park can play a crucial part in helping the team secure the win.
He added that the experienced players in the starting line-up can also help guide the younger players.
Cooper added: “We have a smattering of experience now throughout the club and good experience.
“But the likes of Brad Walker, Scotty Harrison and Jordan Richards are still fairly young men and do need the fans to get behind them and support them, to give them the belief that things that they try, they are trying to do for the right reasons.
“They are trying to make their way in professional football and the older lads have to encourage them to do that and to be the back-up and the steel in the team.
“On the whole, I was more than pleased with the performance and we looked a threat last weekend.”