Middlesbrough conqueror Padraig Amond could score goals in the Premier League - that’s the view of Hartlepool United boss Craig Hignett.
Hignett signed the Irish frontman fresh from a 32-goal season that guided Grimsby back to the Football League. We all know now scoring that number of goals at this level is some achievement.
It was a transfer Hignett would not regret as the likeable, workaholic forward chipped in with 14 goals, even though Pools suffered relegation on the final day of the season, without the manager who signed their star striker.
“Brilliant,” was the word Hignett used to describe the player who has eyes on another top flight scalp next weekend when Newport County take on Manchester City.
Hignett went on: “Podge is a player who could play higher and I think a few are looking at him.
“What he does is week-in, week-out scores goals and works hard.
“The move to Newport, it hasn’t surprised me he has done so well.
“He knows what he is doing in the box – they are worth their weight in gold. We would kill for a striker like that.”
Amond’s Pools departure was a little more high-profile than his arrival.
A very public fall out with then manager Craig Harrison, just a few short weeks into Pools’ first season in the fifth tier, saw Newport swoop.
Amond has not looked back. In fact, he’s made quite a name for himself in the world’s oldest cup competition, as well as doing what he does best in League Two.
While the FA Cup may have lost its magic to many, Amond and Newport are doing their best to buck the downward trend.
Last season they were the competition’s giant killers, knocking out Leeds United then taking Tottenham Hotspur to a replay, with Amond scoring the goal that sealed a fourth round rematch at White Hart Lane.
This season, Newport, and Amond, are again writing their name in competition folklore.
The 30-year-old has scored four goals in six games in this year’s cup, netting against Met Police in round one, Wrexham in round two, before scoring in round three as the Exiles saw off Premier League Leicester City live on the BBC.
And again in round four Amond was the man to get the ball rolling in the midweek defeat of Tony Pulis’ Middlesbrough.
Next up, if you thought David v Goliath was a mismatch, then try Pep v Podge.
Top flight behemoths Manchester City – who beat Championship Burton Albion 9-0 recently – and Pep Guardiola lie in wait.
It won’t faze Amond.
“I can’t really say what happened when I he left here because there were conflicting reports. But what I can say is Podge is one of the nicest lads you’ll ever meet in your life,” said Hignett.
“A great pro, he scores goals, another who I keep in touch with. He has had a great season.
“I am made up for him – the goal he scored against Boro was top drawer.
“If you score goals, if you are clever and know what you are doing, you can net at any level.
“He would maybe need a little more sharpness in the Premier League but just look at Glenn Murray. He scores goals.
“If you score goals, you score goals. I hope he gets a crack at it higher up, hopefully the Championship.”