Hartlepool Utd face competition from Carlisle Utd to sign Clinton Morrison

Clinton Morrison
Clinton Morrison

HARTLEPOOL United are facing competition from Carlisle United for the signature of experienced Premier League striker Clinton Morrison.

The 35-year-old is one of two free agents to train with Hartlepool United this week, the other being former Sunderland striker Jordan Laidler, 19, who was released by the Black Cats in the summer and has been playing for West Auckland in the Northern League.

Both have spent time at the club’s Maiden Castle base, in Durham, this week but no deals have yet been sealed.

Tomorrow’s visitors Carlisle are also tracking Morrison and manager Keith Curle said he is waiting to see if a deal can be struck with the striker.

Morrison, 35, is a former Crystal Palace, Birmingham City, Coventry City and Sheffield Wednesday striker and played for Colchester United for the past two seasons - scoring just four goals - but is currently a free agent.

He trained with Pools on Tuesday and Cooper was hoping to have him back in training today.

Colin Cooper is desperate to bolster his striking options with his goal shy Pools side managing just five league goals between them so far this term.

“Clinton was not in Thursday as he had a family commitment but he was in Tuesday and liked what he saw,” Cooper told SportMail.

“He is keen to try and do something.

“It is not very often that people like Clinton Morrison are out of contract. I am interested and he showed a great enthusiasm and will when he was here.

“Clinton is a good guy and still wants to win, which I like, and if something can be done and we can do it before the weekend then great.

“We’ll see where we are.

“I saw Jordan play a lot last year and he was always one I was keen to have a look at.

“He has the potential, he is still only a young man and is really keen to be here - why would I not have a look?

“I know Jordan has been playing for West Auckland to - in his own words - keep himself fit and ticking over.

“I think he could score goals at League Two if he has that real drive and he tells me he does. He certainly has the technical ability, the pace and the power.

“I am keen to keep him here to take a closer look and try and get him in a competitive fixture.”

Sunderland opted not to extend the contract of striker Laidler after his emergence from the academy system into the club’s Under-21 squad and he has found himself in non-league.

Cooper added: “It is a massive leap from the Northern League but Jordan has only been out of it for three or four months.

“Jordan is someone I’d seen play for the Under 21s at Sunderland and he played in a slightly deeper role because of numbers and his willingness.

“Sometimes a striker can turn into a Number 10 and then into a midfield player but I have I said to him, I don’t want a midfielder I want someone who can score goals.

“I saw him play for West Auckland in a deep lying midfield position but that isn’t what I want but he tells me he is still hungry to score.

“Having seen a lot of strikers in this league, if you have pace and power in and around the 18-yard box that can be the little bit extra to separate sides.

“You see people like Billy Kee, who scores regularly, who have that build, strong, powerful but not massive.

“We will see but as a lad I like him and the bit we did on Tuesday he looked quite sharp.

“The downside is he is not training every day.”

The Pools manager again stressed that Financial Fair Play regulations wouldn’t prevent him from adding permanent signings to his squad.

Cooper added: “It doesn’t all depend on me, but the players as well.

“If I get someone in who I like the look of then there is nothing to stop us doing the deal.”

The Pools manager has this week taken in Middlesbrough Under 21s against West Bromwich Albion at The Vic on Monday and a Burnley versus Hull development match, to see other players recommended to him.