LUKE James has hailed the “unbelievable” talent of his strike partner James Poole and admits he would “hate” to play against him..
James has already made it to double figures this season, scoring his 10th of the season in the 2-0 win over Northampton Town, while the lively Poole has been reinvigorated since playing in a slightly deeper position.
The change in tactics has reaped rewards for Hartlepool United’s management team of Colin Cooper and Craig Hignett, with Pools winning six out of their last nine league games after a poor start to the season.
It has seen them rise to 13th in the league but they remain six points off the play-off positions after the disappointing 1-0 defeat to Bury on Tuesday night.
Pools play Portsmouth in Sky Bet League Two at Victoria Park on Saturday and last weekend saw Cooper’s side easily brush past bottom side Northampton on home soil.
A key reason was the outstanding performance of Poole, who has four goals to his name this campaign, playing in “the hole” behind 19-year-old James.
James: “That is what the gaffer has been telling us, if I stay high then it gives him the chance to come deep for the ball.
“It works because of the number of times Poolie gets fouled, runs through, has a shot or the keeper manages to make a save.
“He loves that position and he was unbelievable against Northampton.
“We wanted to start the second half with a high tempo and we scored after less than five minutes thanks to the penalty won by a great run from Poolie.
“I don’t know how many free kicks he won or should have won.
“He was causing havoc for them and that makes it is easier for me because he likes to slide them in.”
James added: “Poolie is quick and technically unbelievable.
“I would hate to play against him.”
Colin Cooper has developed a high-tempo, counter attacking brand of football and the emphasis is very much on playing the ball to feet on the floor.
That is music to the ears of James, who feels it has helped benefit his all-round game.
The teenager added: “The gaffer wants us to get the ball down and play on the deck.
“When you have a few little guys it is better to play the ball on the deck, which helps me a lot.
“It is working for the team at the moment and we are doing well.”