Hartlepool United have signed another attacking talent of “real quality”.
That was the boast of boss Craig Hignett after making Lewis Alessandra his fourth principal summer arrival and the eighth in total.
The 27-year-old forward was snapped up after being released by Rochdale and will join his team-mates for the first time today at the second day of pre-season training.
Alessandra follows goal machine Padraig Amond, attacking midfielder Nicky Deverdics and defender Toto Nsiala who have joined the club over recent weeks.
And Hignett told SportMail he could not be happier.
“Lewis is a very good footballer.” said the manager.
“For one reason or another it did not work out for him at Rochdale last season, but before that he had 20-odd goals at Plymouth.
“We’ve watched him and felt he was a player of real quality.”
Alessandra is almost certain to be Hignett’s last acquisition for the final third of the field, given the advanced players at his disposal.
The 27-year-old looks like proving another piece of shrewd business, given his versatility.
He can operate either up front or wide of or just behind a central striker.
The Manchester-born player started his career with Oldham Athletic, where he was a product of the youth system, going on to play 76 times for the Latics and averaged a goal every four games.
It is a ratio Alessandra matched during a productive two-season spell at Plymouth, where he bagged 25 goals in 101 appearances.
His subsequent switch to Rochdale 12 months ago did not work out, starting just four matches, scoring twice for the League One club before being loaned out to York City.
Alessandra could not save the Minstermen from the drop, scoring twice in 11 appearances.
He played the full 90 minutes for York in their 2-1 defeat at the Vic in April.
But now he’ll be in the blue of Pools after Hignett brought him to the club yesterday.
“We believe there are goals in him,” he said.
“He’s bright, creative, hungry and ambitious.
“After what happened last season, he felt he had a bit of catching up to do.
“Me and Curtis [Fleming] spoke to him and he listened to our plans and the way we wanted to go about things and he wants to be a part of that.
“Lewis is exactly the sort of player I want – someone who is as hungry as we are.
“Everyone we have signed has bought into the vision we have for Pools.
“Lewis can play in a few different positions – centre-forward, just behind the striker, out wide, he has a few strings to his bow.”
Alessandra will get the chance to show his football today at Maiden Castle.
Hignett and the Pools coaching staff put the players through some physical work yesterday, but today the ball will be out.
“We had the ball out for maybe 15 to 20 minutes to do some technique,” he said. “We did a few fitness tests, but I have to say I thought the players have come back in great shape.
“You should see Adam Bartlett, who’s come back really shredded.
“The ball will be out from the start today.
“I was really pleased with how the first day went – the lads were buzzing.”