YOU either love him or hate him but should Jack ‘Marmite’ Compton be brought back into the Hartlepool United fold?
It is a hot topic ahead of the two most important matches in the club’s history.
Pools are winless in five but incredibly have managed to stay the right side of the dotted lines in Sky Bet League Two with a fortnight to go.
Their fate is still very much hanging in the balance but manager Ronnie Moore could have an ace card up his sleeve – Compton.
Pools have been crying out for width, pace and creativity in recent matches – the matches against York, Accrington Stanley and Luton Town were prime examples.
Yet the problem facing Moore is that winger Compton has been recently exiled from the squad, even spending time training with the youth players.
His future at the club beyond May looks almost certainly to be him heading out of town.
But he could still have a vital part to play in the meantime, as Pools look to secure their proud 94-year association with the Football League.
With David Mirfin struggling, Moore reverted to 4-4-2 at Luton, with Scott Fenwick pushed out wide.
It was a move Moore himself admitted didn’t work out so the question he is facing is does he stick with 4-4-2 or revert to 3-5-2 for the Exeter clash?
A match that could see Pools safe, if Tranmere Rovers and Cheltenham Town both lose and Pools pick up three points.
If Moore goes with 3-5-2, Compton is unlikely to feature but 4-4-2 would suit him starting on the left.
After all the 26-year-old has a big point to prove. To himself, to his manager, his teammates and the supporters.
Compton took to Twitter this week to tell the world that he was working hard but didn’t make the decisions over whether he should start, adding he was looking forward to a hard week of training.
A clue perhaps, that Compton is set to be reinstated.
He hasn’t featured since the late 1-0 home defeat to Burton Albion at the start of March, a result which spurred Pools on to four straight wins.
Moore and Pools didn’t need him then, but since the club has climbed out of the bottom two, they haven’t won a match.
Time for a re-think perhaps?
Compton has failed to deliver his undoubted ability on a regular basis since being signed by Colin Cooper in the summer of 2013.
And he knows he is no longer guaranteed a start. The last six weeks have proved that.
Tellingly, earlier this year, Compton told SportMail: “If I am not playing well then the manager [Moore] won’t play me – simple.
“Whereas with Coops, he brought me in and put an arm round me and maybe I felt I had a place in the team.
“But under the gaffer I don’t feel I have that – I have to work my rocks off every day to get in. That has helped me, certainly.”
Compton was dropped for the trip to Portsmouth at the start of February – getting himself involved in a Twitter spat with team-mate Scott Harrison after tweeting about the lack of shots during the match.
It rankled Moore and the squad and a meeting was held in the aftermath to clear the air.
He was brought back for the Northampton Town match and produced a man of the match performance as Pools won 1-0, after which, Moore said: “Jack is like Marmite, you either love him or you hate him.”
Well, now is the time for Compton to let his football do the talking.
For the sake of Hartlepool United.