HARTLEPOOL United boss Neale Cooper has revealed that Nathan Luscombe is pushing for a first-team recall.
The 22-year-old was thrown a Pools lifeline by his boss earlier this month having previously been left at home during the summer tour of Holland after reporting for pre-season in an unacceptable condition.
It was after Luscombe’s game-changing cameo at Whitby Town that Cooper suggested the midfielder could yet figure in his plans this coming campaign.
And now, having put in the graft on the training pitches at Maiden Castle, the Pools chief says the former Sunderland trainee is knocking on the door.
“Nathan is pushing again,” Cooper told SportMail today.
“He has worked hard.
“He was disappointed he never got taken to Holland, but I was disappointed in his fitness levels.”
It was Luscombe’s weight which was the issue, the player returning from his summer break in a state which infuriated his manager.
But Cooper insists he is not one to hold grudges, especially with a player of Luscombe’s ability.
“He’ll never be Mr Slim, he’s just naturally that body type,” added the Scot.
“But I’ve said it before, he has to watch what he eats away from being with us and look after himself.
“But in his last match against Newcastle I thought he did well when he came on.
“He showed some great touches and went away from his man a couple of times.
“That’s the thing, he is a good footballer.
“I really like the boy and I don’t hold grudges.
“If he comes back and performs then great, everyone is a winner.
“That’s the same for all of the boys out of the team – they will all get their chance if they perform.”