Hartlepool United midfielder Brad Walker praises impact of new signings

Brad Walker in action for Hartlepool United against Southend United. Picture by FRANK REID
Brad Walker in action for Hartlepool United against Southend United. Picture by FRANK REID

Brad Walker is relishing the fierce competition for places at Hartlepool United this season.

And the talented 20-year-old midfielder has backed the 10 new signings to arrive at Victoria Park this summer to be a huge hit under the guidance of Pools boss Ronnie Moore.

One to watch: Hartlepool United defender Carl Magnay.

One to watch: Hartlepool United defender Carl Magnay.

Pools narrowly avoided relegation last season, a major scare which left Moore wasting no time in overseeing a huge rebuilding job.

The strength in depth has been displayed this week, with Moore and assistant Sam Collins able to name two different sides in each half of the two friendly matches played so far.

Walker has been impressed with the calibre of signings – who have added much-needed quality and “toughness” to a side looking to avoid a repeat of last year’s struggles.

“The new signings have all settled in brilliantly,” Walker told SportMail.

“Most of them have been here since the start of pre-season, which has helped I think, and obviously Kudus [Oyenuga] joined us last week.

“They all seem to have gelled which is good to see and they have been welcomed in and hopefully now we can kick on and push on together as a team.”

The central midfielder, who bagged a brace in the 7-0 win over Billingham Town, has picked out defenders Harry Worley and Carl Magnay as two to watch.

The experienced pair have bolstered a young back-line, and will provide support to highly-rated Scott Harrison and Dan Jones - who is recovering from surgery on a wrist injury.

“All of the new signings have talent, especially Harry and Carl at the back,” added Walker.

“They will add a bit of experience and a bit of toughness, which I don’t think we have had recently.

“They will be good for Scott and Dan at the back.

“The other lads have all made an impression too.

“We have two different teams now - we have shown that this week in the friendly matches - and there is competition all over the park, so everyone has to challenge for themselves and there is no place secured.”

Pools have a strong midfield and Walker is competing with the likes of Nicky Featherstone, Michael Woods, Matthew Bates and Lewis Hawkins for a central midfield berth.

And Walker is keen to stamp his mark during pre-season, with Pools set to play Whitby Town away on Friday night before travelling to Spennymoor Town on Saturday as the club continue their preparations.

Walker added: “Woodsy is flying back from injury and there is added competition there too.

“Dan is coming back from his wrist injury as well, there is good healthy competition all over.

“All you can do is train and work hard and hopefully get selected.”