JACK Barmby started on a high at Hartlepool United and did not want to go out on a low.
The teenage talent began his loan spell at Victoria Park with a bang when he blasted in a brilliant goal on his debut against York City in January.
Tuesday’s disappointing 4-2 defeat to Mansfield Town could have been his last, had Pools and Manchester United not agreed an extension for the 19-year-old.
But boss Colin Cooper and United U21 coach Warren Joyce spoke this week and Barmby will stay for the rest of the season.
After previous loan agreements with Middlesbrough for Matty Dolan and Luke Williams perished, Cooper is thrilled to have made it third time lucky with this attacking gem.
Also thrilled is Jack’s dad, Nick, the former Premier League and England star who has been a regular at the Vic to support his son.
Cooper says Pools - and the fans - must continue to support players of tender years and experience and show patience if it does not always go to plan.
“Nick comes to every game and he’s pleased Jack has got the opportunity here,” said Cooper.
“He wants more out of his son and so do Manchester United, they recognise his talent and they want to see him doing x, y and z.
“I’m convinced he’s doing a smashing job for us.
“His impact in games has been good, he’s scored goals, he’s created goals.
“He’s only 19 and he’s going to make mistakes as well.
“I’ve said from day one here that I’m happy to accept that young players will make genuine mistakes.
“They are trying to do the right thing but mistakes happen.
“Christian [Burgess] made one on Tuesday night but he and the rest of the lads have given us a hell of a lot more good than bad.
“While we do get disappointed with results I’m still delighted with the way we are trying to do things and the impact these lads have had on our season.”
While Cooper will not concede defeat in the play-off push, Pools look consigned to another season in League Two.
But Cooper has been pleased his young side have proved any doubters wrong.
“Whatever the season brings the season brings,” he said.
“I go back to the very start of the season, a friendly with Middlesbrough.
“One or two of members of their staff said we would struggle this season, but I never felt that to be the case.
“I always felt we had enough.
“Whether we were ever good enough to hit the higher echelons and make automatic promotion – probably not, but I knew we would be competitive in this league.
“Let’s go to the end of the season and see where it puts us.
“If we are a bit short, then so be it.
“It’s my job to make sure that we get to the stage next season where we try to do things so we don’t leave it a little bit short.
“I can’t argue with the commitment and effort they have given me.
“At times we lack consistency, at times we show naivety, at times we don’t score enough goals – but that’s life, that’s football.”