Dave Challinor delivers verdict on how Hartlepool United's new signings Mike Fondop and Jordan Cook have started

Hartlepool United boss Dave Challinor is pleased with how his two new signings, strikers Mike Fondop and Jordan Cook, have settled in at Victoria Park but knows it will be on the field where they will be judged.

Friday, 1st October 2021, 6:00 am

Pools endured a hectic summer turnover following their promotion to the Football League with centre forward a prime area of focus for Challinor after the loss of last season’s top scorers Rhys Oates and Luke Armstrong.

The Pools boss moved to bring in former Port Vale striker Mark Cullen and Millwall forward Tyler Burey on-loan to boost his side’s attacking intent but both have struggled with their fitness in the opening months of the campaign - Burey suffering an unfortunate hamstring injury after a bright start to life at Victoria Park.

It led to Challinor dipping into the free agent market to bring in Fondop, following his release from Burton Albion in the summer, and Gateshead man Cook.

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Mike Fondop has settled in well at Victoria Park says Hartlepool United boss Dave Challinor. (Photo by James Gill/Getty Images).

And while both have yet to find the target in their first outings for Pools, Challinor remains upbeat about their arrivals.

“They’ve settled in really well and they’re both really good lads,” Challinor told The Mail.

“[But] it’s important they settle on the pitch because that is where they are going to be judged.

“I think we’ve given them lots of information in terms of what we want and, in Mike’s case, that’s an area we can improve because it’s become a bit too easy for us to just play balls forward.

“I get the safety valve for players is that, yes that’s an easy ball and gets it away from our goal, but that’s not what we want. If we play balls forward, we want them played forward with quality.”

And the Pools boss went on to stress how he won’t change his side’s approach to games just to incorporate his new strikers - particularly with Fondop’s physical presence - insisting they must stick to their guns.

“We still want to play how we want to play and dictate games.

“I want Nicky Featherstone to run games but in order to do that, we’ve got to pass him the ball.

“We don’t want players to be sidetracked into thinking that because we’ve got a target man on the pitch our philosophy and how we’re going to play changes.”

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