HARTLEPOOL United are running the rule over former Middlesbrough starlet Nathan Porritt.
Neale Cooper told SportMail last week that he was considering taking the 22-year-old on trial after he had impressed against Pools for Whitby Town.
And left-winger Porritt played the full 90 minutes of last night’s 3-1 reserve-team win at Bishop Auckland.
However, it was another former Premier League academy ace who starred, James Poole scoring twice to send a timely reminder of his talents to first-team boss Neale Cooper.
Micky Barron took charge of a strong Pools XI – including Paul Murray, Ritchie Humphreys, Jack Baldwin and Nathan Luscombe – and he explained the situation with trialist Porritt.
“We’ll continue to have a look at Nathan, but fair play to him, he came in without knowing any of the lads and played the full match and did well,” said Barron.
“He has definitely got quality on the ball and has that ability to unlock things.
“But last night, with all respect, it was against Bishop Auckland, and we’d probably want to see him against stronger opposition.”
Pools fell behind at Heritage Park when Auckland striker Andy Johnson got in behind the backline to score early in the second half.
But the visitors hit back courtesy of an acrobatic Poole volley before Jordan Richards laid one on a plate for the same player to convert at the near post.
There was still time for sub Ben Wignall – the youth-team forward who joined Pools on their recent tour of Holland – to get his name on the scoresheet, turning in late on from a Luscombe corner.
And Barron said: “It was a really good game and it was very competitive.
“They passed it around well and gave us a few problems.
“But the lads looked fit and did well.”
He went on: “James Poole took his two goals excellently.
“They would have done his confidence the world of good and it’s the sort of response the manager is looking for.
“Neale has said that he’s picked a team which he’s looking to play in the first-team friendlies and the lads know that.
“But the likes of Paul Murray played last night and he was absolutely excellent.
“The lads’ attitude was spot on and it was a very good outing for us.”
Meanwhile, Colin Nish was forced to pull out of last night’s game with a knee injury and he will be assessed by the club’s medical staff today.
Pools: McHugh, Richards, Baldwin, Johnson, Holden, Larkin, Humphreys (Wignall 46), Murray, Porritt, Poole, Luscombe. Subs not used: Tuck, Hedley.