JAMES Poole isn’t too concerned about the nature of his recall to the Hartlepool United starting XI – but insists he is there to stay.
The 22-year-old had not started a match in more than two months when, with Steve Howard injured, he was restored to the line-up for the trip to Portsmouth.
Poole responded with a well-taken goal in the 3-1 win at Fratton Park, and he repeated the trick during Saturday’s 2-1 victory over Notts County.
His latest strike belonged on the highest stage, the forward cushioning a cross with one touch before volleying home with his second.
Poole will again form part of a three-man attack – alongside Jonathan Franks and Charlie Wyke - when Pools take on Swindon Town this weekend.
And, while he has every sympathy for hamstring-victim Howard, the former Manchester City trainee insists this is his chance to shine.
“You have to take any chance in football, no matter how they come,” he told SportMail today.
“I can’t be too bothered that it’s happened this way (Howard’s injury).
“Even when Stevie was fit and playing I felt I was pushing him hard to get back in.”
He went on: “If you’re not getting in then you can’t afford to let your head go down, that will just hinder your performance.
“I’ve been fit from day one of pre-season and ready to play every game – obviously it hasn’t worked out that way.
“It’s been hard at times and I’ve not been happy during the past few months.
“But I’ve got to keep telling myself that I have the ability, I know I can do it.”
Poole’s return to the side has coincided with back-to-back victories – the first time in 17 months Pools have achieved such a sequence.
But the striker knows there is work to be done.
“We can’t celebrate too much because we’ve got a massive 16 games still to play,” he said.
“It’s about producing 90-minute performances on a regular basis, not just half an hour here and there.
“We’ve also got to not let things affect us when we do concede a goal.
“We showed on Saturday that we didn’t let our heads drop and came back to win.
“Things are looking up but this is just a start for us.”