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Craig Harrison names the Hartlepool player he’s desperate to have back in team

Jonathan Franks.
Jonathan Franks.

Hartlepool United need Jonathan Franks back...and fast.

While Pools coped without the hamstring victim admirably against Halifax Town (a 4-0 win), the other three matches have provided ample proof that Franks is required up front.

Craig Harrison’s side have dominated possession at Ebbsfleet and Dover and at home to Macclesfield.

But the lion’s share of the ball has resulted in just one goal, a frightening return.

Saturday’s frontmen at the Crabble Athletic Ground mustered only two attempts at goal, Rhys Oates having a first-half shot blocked for a corner and sub Tomi Adeloye seein a low left-footer saved by Mitch Walker.

Jake Cassidy and Jack Munns did not muster a single attempt with the majority of the shots coming from deep-lying midfielder Liam Donnelly (three).

So are Pools missing Franks?

“Without a doubt,” said Harrison, who gets a welcome break from the rigours of the National League this Saturday with an FA Trophy trip to Workington.

“Franksy’s obviously a senior player and we can’t forget some of our forwards are still young fellas.

“He’s our senior striker amd leading scorer.”

Three of the 27-year-old’s goals have been winners while his speculative shot at Torquay was the points-clincher.

To say Pools appear to have a frontline of reluctant shooters would be an understatement.

“Look at Torquay,” said Harrison. “The second goal there has won us the game.

“Yes it’s taken a nick but he’s been there willing to pull the trigger. We need to do that more.”

Harrison will be ramming down the players throats this week the instruction to “shoot, shoot, shoot”.

The 40-year-old hates players “passing the buck” – he wants decisive action and no excuses about the pitch.

“There’s going to be some hard work on the training pitch, a lot of repetition,” said Harrison, referring to both ends of the park.

“But it’s also about making better decisions as individuals, not being scared to miss.

“If you are going to take a shot on, no one’s going to chastise you.

“I’d rather someone got a shot off than pass the buck to someone else.

“There were four or five occasions at Dover – you saw with your own eyes when you are saying ‘shoot, shoot, shoot!’.

“We’ve then added another pass. Why?!

“Unless you are playing on Wembley, the chances are the ball might not be sitting right but you can’t be waiting for that opportunity for it to be perfect.

“Nine times out of 10 on these pitches it’s not going to sit perfectly.

“I think it showed on Saturday, their first goal, the lad has had a shot early and scored.

“We’ve been in those areas a number of times and not pulled the trigger or not made the right decision or passed the buck.”