How former AFC Fylde striker Gime Toure could prove to be the difference maker for Hartlepool United this season
Every side could do with a maverick – in Gime Toure – Hartlepool United certainly have theirs.
The 25-year-old has made an exciting start to life at Victoria Park following his summer arrival from Sutton United.
In two games and a brief substitute cameo, Poolies have seen the whole spectrum of what Toure will bring to the side this season – for better or worse!
Along with most of his teammates, Toure looked ragged and erratic in the first half against his former side Sutton in the opening weekend before his fine strike out of the blue provided a rare moment of class in the game. Although it didn’t on that occasion, it’s those bursts of quality that often prove to be the difference.
Despite scoring on his debut, the Frenchman was dropped to the bench for the trip to Halifax. His second half introduction injected some much needed energy going forward though his only telling contribution was picking up a yellow card for simulation inside the penalty area.
He returned to the starting 11 for the trip to Maidnehead and rewarded the faith shown in him with an exhilarating performance at York Road.
Toure was a constant threat going forward with his pace and trickery as The Magpies struggled to contain him. He started on the left side but switched over to the opposite flank for the second half which saw him win back possession and play a key role in Niko Muir’s matchwinning strike.
His performance was commended by both the National League and Non-League Paper as he was named in their respective team of the week line-ups.
There were some question marks over Pools’ new forward following his signing back in June given his previous seasons in the National League. Toure started his last campaign at AFC Fylde – who Hartlepool will welcome to Victoria Park on Tuesday evening (7:45pm kick-off) – before being released in December and joining Sutton.
And with a goal return of seven in 41 appearances last term, expectations shouldn’t be on Toure be that ‘20 goal a season’ striker – but he can be that mercurial forward to shake the opposing defence and produce matchwinning moments.
Getting off the mark for the season on his debut will be a good confidence boost for the player but work is still required in front of goal and his displays will likely work both ways. The unpredictability of United’s number 23 means for every moment of brilliance, there’s a potential mishap waiting to happen.
Because of that, Toure has arguably been Pools’ most eye-catching player so far. You always know when he’s on the ball and wait with bated breath in anticipation for what will happen next.
The end result will either be a cheer or a sigh, with little in between. But it’s these types of players who get the crowd off their feet.
And Hartlepool manager Craig Hignett has been impressed with what Toure has brought to his side so far.
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“I’m really pleased for Gime because everyone watching can see what he’s got,” he said.
“He’s going to be a real handful at times and frustrating at other times.
“He’s enthusiastic, he’s had a new lease of life coming here and has mixed with the lads unbelievably well, they love him and I think if you give someone with his ability that kind of love and that kind of confidence then you’ll get some things out of him that’ll make you go ‘wow’!
“He’s got the lot, he can do everything but every now and again he’ll do something that’ll make you think ‘why’s he done that?’ But I’ll take that because he wants to do so well.”
Toure started his career in his native France at Brest before moving to ES Viry-Châtillon.
He first arrived in England on trial for West Bromwich Albion as a 20-year-old before moving back France with lower-league sides La Roche and Fontenay LCVF.
The forward got a second chance to break into English football when he was brought in on trial at Wrexham in the summer of 2017. That trial didn’t lead to a deal at the National League side though he was promptly snapped up by Macclesfield Town.
The Silkmen would go on to win the fifth tier title that season though Toure’s impact was limited. He made just 11 appearances between August and November without scoring and was subsequently released.
The striker enjoyed more success at Fylde last season where he scored four times but again only lasted half the season.
Upon signing the striker, Hignett stressed the need to make Toure feel ‘loved’ and ‘at home’ in his new Victoria Park surroundings.
And it’s a case of so far so good for all parties though the Pools boss has admitted there is something that has worried him.
“He’s got real ability and he’s mixing really well with the lads,” Hignett continued.
“Our side is a lot more physical this season without sacrificing the football side of things and Gime is one of those players who brings that physicality but is also a good player with the ball at his feet.”
“He’s struck up a real friendship with Liam Noble which is worrying but if you can get him going, give him a home and love him, he’ll be a real asset for us this season.”