COLIN Cooper has called on Jack Compton to show the Hartlepool United fans what he can really do before the end of the season.
The pacy 25-year-old is due for an extended run in the Pools side following the hamstring injury to regular Andy Monkhouse – which could see him out for three weeks.
The injury to the 33-year-old is a blow to Pools but Cooper says he has full faith in his replacement, who he brought to the club in the summer.
But the Pools gaffer admits the past few months have been tough for Compton who has been out of the side and away from his young family in Cardiff.
Monkhouse’s injury has now presented the Cardiff-born schemer with a golden opportunity to repeat his form in the early stages of the season against the likes of
Mansfield Town and Exeter City back in October.
The former Bradford, Portsmouth and West Bromwich Albion winger looked bright when he came on for Monkhouse in the 15th minute of Saturday’s 4-0 win over Bristol Rovers.
And his manager wants to see him repeat that level of performance.
Cooper said: “I brought Jack here so I know the ability that the kid has and he looked really bright when he came on against Bristol.
“One or two things off the field have stood in his way, of late.
“Jack has a young baby, which he doesn’t see very often, and his girlfriend is down in Cardiff and his family.
“He desperately misses his daughter and has had a few things which haven’t been easy and it is difficult him being in Hartlepool and his
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daughter in Cardiff.
“I understand that because I am a father.
“But training and games have to take precedent and he now has an opportunity to show everybody that the Jack Compton that started the season at Hartlepool will hopefully finish in the same kind of vein.
“That opportunity is now there.”
Compton has appeared 30 times this season, scoring four goals, but hasn’t started a game since Fleetwood Town in mid-January.
But he did impress on Saturday and Cooper wants to see him repeat that when 10th-placed Pools travel to 6th-placed Oxford United on Friday night.
Cooper added: “Whether Andy [Monkhouse] turns out to be injured for a week, two or longer, Jack is in the team and his job is to stay in the team and to produce what he did against Bristol Rovers this Friday.
“Then we will worry about the week after but for now he is in the team and I thought his contribution against Bristol was very good.
“I was chuffed to bits because he has had a rough time as a young man, and father, and has found it hard over Christmas and beyond but he has shown what he can deliver.
“He will be fine and I think the world of him and hopefully he thinks the world of himself after last weekend.”
• POOLS fans can make a saving by buying their tickets for Friday night’s game at Oxford United in advance from the Victoria Park ticket office.
Tickets for the fixture at The Kassam Stadium are on sale now and will remain available until 3pm on Thursday, March 20.
After the deadline, fans will be able to buy their tickets on the day from the North Ticket Office at The Kassam Stadium which will accept cash-only.
Prices in brackets below are what fans will pay if they buy on the day:
Adults - £19 (£21.50)
Seniors (65 and over) - £11.50 (£12.50)
Students - £15.50 (£17.50)
Under 16s - £11.50 (£12.50)
Under 7s – Free (when accompanied by an adult) March.