Hartlepool United is where Luke James heart is

Luke James
Luke James

Home is where the heart is.

And Luke James feels back where he belongs – for the rest of the season anyway.

I was here from when I was 12 until I was 19 so I can’t wait to start again. I’m buzzing


The 21-year-old told SportMail he had not one doubt about rejoining Hartlepool United on a half-season loan.

And tomorrow at Notts County, James will be in his beloved Pools strip again.

“It feels brilliant to be back,” said the forward, who says he is excited to be on the bus as he was in his early times at the club, aged 12.

“I was playing for my local team, Cramlington Juniors, and Jason Miller, who was scouting for Hartlepool, recommended me to Pools.

“I came for a six-week trial and I got in!

“I always remembered my old man kept saying ‘if you don’t enjoy it, tell me’ – it was an hour-and-a-half-journey down here!

“But I said to him ‘dad, I love it’ and it all went from there.

“I have always loved it.

“I was here from when I was 12 until I was 19 so I can’t wait to start again. I’m buzzing.”

That love for Pools made his decision to return so straight-forward.

James had options, including Stevenage, not a million miles away from parent club Peterborough and, at that time, an opportunity to work with Teddy Sheringham.

And he could have joined Oxford and, potentially, end the season with a League Two winners’ medal.

But James said the chance to play for Pools was too good to turn down and admitted he did not really need the advice of loved-ones and pals.

“They just said you love the club, that’s surely going to help you, that feeling you have for the team and the place,” he told SportMail.

“Everyone said ‘do what you think is best for you’.

“That’s what I’ve done.

“I still know quite a few of the lads and the staff, I know the ground, the training ground inside out.

“I am very familiar with all of that so it should be easy for me to gel quite quickly again.

“When I first came to Pools I think I had John Hewitson as my coach for a few years in the academy and he’s now the head of youth so it’s nice to see him in that role.

“Nobbsy was one of the first people I bumped into when I came into the club to sign on Monday, so I felt at home straight away!”

James may not have scored this season for Bradford City, where he spent the first five months of the season.

He only found the net twice for Peterborough last season following his £500,000 move from Pools in August 2014.

However, his record for Pools was pretty good – 22 goals, including 16 in the 2013-4 season when he was one of the hottest teenage prospects in the land.

“Hopefully that [record] will continue,” he said.

“Re-signing was a no brainer – I know some of the lads, I know the environment, I know the ground, the fans, even Frank Reid!

“Being happy and comfortable in these surroundings made it a no-brainer.”

James is a likely starter at Meadow Lane tomorrow with his Vic comeback set for Tuesday when, ironically, Stevenage will be the opposition.

The forward is well aware of the situation Pools are in but believes the intense sequence of games will give them the opportunity to build momentum.

“Tomorrow will be a test,” said James. “Notts County have some good players.

“But we have to go there and look for the win.

“I can’t wait for it and then for next Tuesday to play here again.

“If we can win [tomorrow] and then Tuesday then that changes the whole complexion of the situation.

“If you are playing Saturday-Tuesday, that’s brilliant, to be playing week-in, week-out is what you want as a footballer.

“In a week you could have three wins and those nine points can change everything.”