Hot Rod can handle Hartlepool pressure

RESPONSIBILITY: Nialle Rodney believes he will cope with the goalscoring pressure on his shoulders.
RESPONSIBILITY: Nialle Rodney believes he will cope with the goalscoring pressure on his shoulders.
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NIALLE Rodney is ready to shoulder the goalscoring burden with Hartlepool United – and that starts with a debut strike at Rochdale.

The 22-year-old, who signed for Pools on Tuesday after a successful trial period, is likely to start from the bench for the season opener at Spotland.

Rodney looks set to be Colin Cooper’s sole attacking acquisition of the summer after Steve Howard confirmed he will be staying at the club.

And the striker welcomes the pressure which comes with that expectation.

“Pressure is good, it brings out the best in you,” Rodney told SportMail on the eve of the new campaign.

“I suppose every player is different but the pressure of scoring goals excites me.

“My job is to score those goals now and I feel we are creating chances.

“It’s all there for me to do.”

Rodney accepts that he is far from guaranteed a starting spot.

But, no matter the names ahead of him in the pecking order, he is determined to pick them off and nail down that first-XI jersey.

And he admits that a debut blast against The Dale would do him no harm.

“If I come from the bench at the weekend I will be desperate to mark my debut with a goal,” he went on.

“I’ll be trying to nick one and hopefully it can be an important goal for the team.

“I know I’ll have to play my way in and earn a starting spot but that’s fine, I’m relishing the challenge.

“No matter who is in front of me it is more about what I do, not them.

“I’ve got to prove myself and I can’t wait to do just that.

“That starts tomorrow and I just cannot wait for my chance.”