TOP-SCORING teenager Luke James is enjoying learning how to improve his game from his new Hartlepool United strike partner who has played at the highest level in England.
Former Premier League striker Marlon Harewood, 34, joined Pools two weeks ago and 19-year-old James is delighted with the chance to work alongside the experienced forward day-in, day-out.
The ex-West Ham United, Aston Villa and Newcastle United striker, with 137 goals to his name in more than 500 career appearances, is still finding his way to full fitness and is yet to score for Pools in his first three outings for the club.
But James, who scored his 12th goal of the season in Tuesday night’s 2-1 defeat at Wimbledon in Sky Bet League Two, said Harewood is constantly giving him advice both in matches and training.
Amble-born James said the permanent signing of Harewood and loan additions of Middlesbrough’s Luke Williams and Manchester United’s Jack Barmby have given the players a real lift.
“It has been very good training with Marlon,” said the Hartlepool United youth product.
“He has been giving me a few pointers, both in matches and on the training ground, little things like where to go and which runs to make.
“Marlon has a lot of experience and his arrival has been a big help for me and hopefully it will continue.
“I think the new signings generally have given everybody a little lift.
“Training has been a bit more exciting with the two new signings and it has been a great week at the training ground.
“There is more competition for places now and it keeps everyone on their toes.
“The more competition for places means you have to up your game and it can only help the squad.”
Meanwhile, Pools gaffer Colin Cooper has also praised the impact of the loan signings, Williams, 20, and 19-year-old Barmby, who scored in the 2-0 win over York City on his Football League debut.
Barmby is the son of Nicky, a former England international with 23 caps to his name.
Trimdon-born Cooper said: “In the first two days me and Craig [Hignett] both said that we knew what Jack was capable of.
“But in those two days he has given us a real boost in energy, only because he has showed us that he has what we thought he had plus probably a bit more.
“For a boy of his age to come out of development football and have that real hunger and desire to be here and want to get on the pitch and impress just makes you feel as though there are some young players out there in the world, and we have plenty, who just really want to be footballers.
“It is refreshing to see that but let’s be honest you don’t go to Manchester United as a 12 or 13-year-old boy and progress through the ranks into professional football unless you have a pretty good talent and he has definitely got something.
“The contribution he made coming on the pitch [against York] just showed what we thought, is definitely there. “His father was also a big part in him coming here and thanks to Manchester United for letting us bring him in and Middlesbrough for letting us bring Luke Williams in.”