RYAN Bird is up for the challenge of saving Hartlepool United’s season as he looks to hit the ground running for his new club.
The 27-year-old has signed a one-month loan deal from League Two rivals Cambridge United and is set to be thrown straight into the starting line-up against Wimbledon.
Pools are eight points adrift from safety and with just 14 games of the season left, Bird knows the pressure is on.
As exclusively revealed by SportMail, Ronnie Moore thought he’d landed Bird before the Bury defeat but the deal collapsed after the Us failed to sign their own transfer target.
It was resurrected once Cambridge signed Matt Harrold on loan from Crawley Town and Bird travelled north yesterday to sign.
“As a striker you need a run of games to get among the goals,” said Slough-born Bird.
“I did that last season at Cambridge when I played regularly, scored goals and we got on a good run.
“I have spoken to Ronnie Moore a couple of times already and I have also spoken to people I know who have played for him and they’ve told me if I work hard then things will work out for me.
“I just want to get going now, I can’t wait to meet all the lads and then get involved straight away on Saturday because we’ve got a massive game against AFC Wimbledon and we need three points.
“The crowd can certainly help us on Saturday.
“I know the lads have done quite well at home recently so we need to get out there and keep that going this weekend.”
The 6ft 4” striker was prolific at non-league side Burnham – including 45 in 45 games during the 2012-13 campaign – before signing for Portsmouth in 2013-14.
Bird has spent time on loan at Havant & Waterlooville and Cambridge United before signing for the Us on a one-year deal last summer.
He has scored four goals in 21 appearances this season but has only started eight times and is looking for a run of games - and goals - at Pools.
“Hartlepool are a big club,” said Bird.
“I know they’ve been struggling a bit this year but the league table didn’t put me off one bit.
“I have always enjoyed a
challenge and I can’t wait to get my teeth stuck in to this one and score some goals to help the team.
“I’m a hard-working striker and I like to think I’ve got an eye for goal - I want to be in the box and scoring goals – headers, volleys, tap-ins, I’ll take them any way they come.
“Every time I have played against Hartlepool I thought they’ve been a good team, Cambridge won with a last-minute goal earlier in the season down there and Hartlepool were very unlucky.
“I also played at Victoria Park with Portsmouth last season and although we got a 0-0 draw I thought we were fortunate that Hartlepool didn’t win the game,” added Bird, who was talking to the club’s website.
Bird turned down the chance to leave Cambridge during the January transfer window, but with options limited at the Abbey Stadium, he took the decision to join Pools.
He turned down offers from two Conference clubs and has been handed squad number 35.
He will go straight in to the squad for Saturday’s League Two game against AFC Wimbledon at Victoria Park, subject to Football League approval.