JAMES Poole accepts that he is in debt to Hartlepool United and the club’s fans – but insists he is ready for his payback mission.
The 23-year-old striker is now in his third full season at Victoria Park but has missed prolonged periods of the previous two because of injury.
Poole, when fit, has shown what he describes as “glimpses” of his capabilities, scoring a host of spectacular goals along the way.
But the Manchester City academy graduate admits that those days have been too infrequent and, having been handed a new contract during the summer, says it is high time he gave something back on a regular basis.
“Getting the contract is a massive opportunity to pay back the faith which the staff have shown in me,” Poole told SportMail today as preparations continued for Saturday’s trip to York City.
“I’ve shown my potential in glimpses but nowhere near enough.
“I’ve missed half a season through injury and there is nothing more frustrating than being sat in the stands.
“That, though, can make you stronger at the same time and I’m just desperate to get back playing again.
“My only target for now is to stay fit – I’m useless if I’m in the stands.
“I’ve been doing extra things away from training and I do yoga now to help with my flexibility.
“If I can get a full season under my belt then there is no saying what I can achieve.”
Poole was the star man during Saturday’s 1-0 defeat to Southend United and looks set to keep his place in the side for the derby date with the Minstermen.
And the frontman says he has always maintained faith in his own ability.
“I have never lost belief in myself that I can perform like that week in, week out,” he went on.
“I thought I did well on Saturday, despite the result.
“Perhaps I’ve struggled a bit at times with injury but I know what I’m capable of.
“That counts for nothing though if I don’t do it next weekend.
“I can’t be content with having a good game, you’ve got to strive for more.”