Niko Muir and Luke James can lead Hartlepool United line again together against Maidenhead United
Niko Muir and Luke James could be chosen to lead the Hartlepool United line again together when Maidenhead United come to town tomorrow.
Manager Matthew Bates rang the changes for Pools’ midweek game against Braintree Town, with four new players added to the starting XI from the side which lost at home to Ebbsfleet United on Saturday.
One of those changes involved dropping striker Jake Cassidy, who has been the focal point of the attack in the early stages of the season, supported by Muir and James in a 3-4-3 formation.
On Tuesday, Bates tweaked his tactics, going for a more conventional 3-5-2 system with Muir and James leading the line in Cassidy’s absence.
It resulted in one of the most impressive attacking performances in a while for Pools, particularly in the first period when they could have gone in at half-time 4-0 up.
As it was, they only had Muir’s second goal of the season to show for their efforts and were eventually pegged back in injury time.
The partnership of James and Muir looked full of promise, however, and Bates could look to keep the duo in tandem for tomorrow’s visit of the National League’s bottom side.
Muir, himself, believes the Pools team looked well balanced on Tuesday and says he can ‘bounce off’ James in attack.
“Me and Luke have a good balance and work hard for each other,” he said. “We are striking a decent partnership.
“We bounce off each other. We need to keep going and play for the team as well.
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“There’s a good balance to the team.
“We need to keep working hard and the results will come. We go again on Saturday.”
Pools have only scored four gaols in their first four games, with Muir having bagged half of that total as he continues to impress after his summer switch from non-league Hendon, where he bagged 32 goals in the Isthmian League last season.
He admits he is pleased with the way he has adapted to full-time football, but would have preferred his side to have picked up all three points.
“It would have been better to get the win but I was happy to score again and get my second goal,” said Muir.
“I’m pleased but the three points would have been better, we need to get points on the board.
“A draw though could be a good result for us in the long term.
“We have to keep going and keep a positive frame of mind.”