Graeme Lee has given his view on former Accrington Stanley striker's debut for Hartlepool United

Graeme Lee cut a dispirited figure after Hartlepool United’s late defeat at Bristol Rovers on Saturday.

By Joe Ramage
Monday, 17th January 2022, 12:30 pm

The Pools boss was made to rue his sides missed opportunities as the Gas scored twice in the closing stages to pinch an unlikely three points.

Lee tried to remain enthusiastic about his side’s performance, including that of debutant Marcus Carver who enjoyed a productive first 67 minutes in a Hartlepool shirt.

Carver gave a good account of himself after arriving from National League North side Southport last week and was unlucky not to score when dragging an effort wide midway through the first half.

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Marcus Carver impressed manager Graeme Lee on his Hartlepool United debut. MI News & Sport Ltd

The 28-year-old worked tirelessly up front for Pools, hassling defenders and creating space for the likes of Luke Molyneux and Gavan Holohan to occupy.

Carver was withdrawn for Mark Cullen midway through the second half owing to his match sharpness but can consider himself satisfied with his first appearance for the club.

“I was very pleased with his performance. He’s a handful, he worked his socks off, he held the ball up when he had to hold the ball up and he ran the channel when he had to run the channel, he put a shift in,” said Lee.

“We knew he wouldn’t last [the 90 minutes] because he’s coming from non-league and he hasn’t been in full time football so he just started to niggle a bit with cramp but I was delighted with his performance.

“He led the line well. Him and Mols worked well together. He caused his centre half some problems, he knocked the centre backs about a little bit, but he can also play.”

The decision for Lee to start Carver was a bold one after the return of Cullen during Pools’ excellent FA Cup success over Blackpool a week previous.

It would have been easy for Lee to stick with that side and perhaps hand Carver his debut from the bench but Lee had faith in his new man.

“It was difficult through the week but I just looked at where we were at and what he could offer and what we’ve been wanting up top.

“We brought somebody in and I thought he’s in the building now, what we’ve been wanting, so let's bang him in and see what happens.”

Despite an encouraging start to life at Hartlepool for Carver, Pools boss Lee still hopes there is more to come from the striker.

The 28-year-old scored 17 times for Southport this season before his switch to the Suit Direct Stadium and Lee wants his new signing to be a little more selfish in the final third.

“My only question with him in the first half, which I said to him, was he had a few opportunities to have a shot himself and he opted to pass and I don’t think he’d have done that at Southport,” said Lee.

“I think he’d have had his shot or been a bit more ruthless and a bit more selfish but that’s been the story of the game, we just didn’t take our chances.”

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