Hartlepool United penalty taker revealed ahead of new League One season

Adam Boyd scores from the penalty spot to pull a goal back for Pools. Picture by FRANK REID
Adam Boyd scores from the penalty spot to pull a goal back for Pools. Picture by FRANK REID

STEVE Howard will be Hartlepool United’s man on the spot going into the new League One season.

The summer departure of Adam Boyd has thrown open the duty of penalty taking, with several of Neale Cooper’s squad vying for the responsibility.

Neil Austin has always proved an accomplished character from 12 yards, while close-season signing Simon Walton was Plymouth Argyle’s chosen taker last term.

But it is centre-forward Howard who has been given the nod, although Cooper admits he wouldn’t have argued with the big man either way.

“If Steve wants to take the penalties then I’m not going to say otherwise,” laughed the Scot, “Have you seen the size of him?

“There were a few boys after taking them, and that’s good, but I think Steve has said they are his and that’s that.

“Hopefully we’ll be awarded our fair share for it to be an issue.”

Meanwhile, Cooper believes that Jonathan Franks will prove a profitable supply line for Howard this coming season.

The 22-year-old winger was the one bright spark from the 5-0 weekend thumping at Crewe Alexandra.

Franks has won a starting berth on the right-hand side of midfield since joining on a free transfer from Middlesbrough in May and, despite the result at Gresty Road, his contribution was of encouragement to Cooper.

“We saw at Crewe just what Jonathan can do with the ball at his feet,” said Cooper, as preparations continued for Saturday’s visit of Swindon Town.

“We’ve said that we want to do better this season with creating chances and I think Jonathan will do that.

“Steve had a couple of very good chances from his crosses on Saturday and I think that’s a combination which will do well.”