How Hartlepool United’s new signings fared on their debuts as Richard Money assesses the trio

Nicke Kabamba impressed on his Hartlepool United debut
Nicke Kabamba impressed on his Hartlepool United debut

First impressions count for a lot - but how did Hartlepool United’s new signings fare on their first outings?

Richard Money pulled off a stunning triple swoop in the build-up to the trip to Harrogate, with Michael Raynes, Nicke Kabamba and Luke Molyneux all putting pen to paper at the Super 6 Stadium.

And while their arrival could not inspire their new employers to victory at the CNG Stadium, their impact was certainly clear to see.

Indeed, their new manager was quick to praise them, saying their performances were a ‘step in the right direction’ as Pools bid to reverse their poor form of late.

But how did Money view them on an individual level?

We take a look at how the Pools chief assessed each of the trio, and deliver our own verdict on the first impressions made by Hartlepool’s latest recruits:

NICKE KABAMBA

Money’s view: “It was a hard afternoon for Nicke Kabamba because we never got a grip of the ball, or possession, in any time in the game.

“Nicke scored on his debut and I think there’s a lot more to come from him too.”

Our verdict: While Kabamba was arguably the signing that drew the least attention when he was unveiled on Friday afternoon, he was perhaps the most impressive at Harrogate.

As Money alludes to, he and striker partner Jake Cassidy did not have an easy afternoon and were often left isolated with Pools on the back foot.

But when he did get a sniff of the ball, the on-loan striker looked lively.

He was dogged and determined, chasing lost causes and using his height to retain possession wherever possible.

A goal was deserved and credit to that perseverance, with his second-time finish extremely well-taken.

Kabamba also saw a fine header saved in the first half and looked to be a real threat on the box.

A promising showing, and here’s hoping it can be maintained.

LUKE MOLYNEUX

Money’s view: “Molyneux we know has a quality left foot. I’m very confident too that Luke will give us something that we haven’t got.”

Our verdict: It was something of a debut of two halves for the Sunderland youngster.

In the opening period, his left foot looked to be Hartlepool’s best chance of clawing themselves back into the game.

His wicked delivery allowed Kabamba to head towards goal - forcing a fine save from James Belshaw in the Harrogate goal.

Then minutes later, an in-swinging free-kick was headed over by fellow debutant Michael Raynes - who arguably should have done better.

His impact cooled in the second half, but there was enough in this showing to suggest that Molyneux will be an impressive recruit as the season continues.

MICHAEL RAYNES

Money’s view: “Michael will get better for the game, for sure.

“I’m very confident that over a period of time that Raynes will prove to be a very good signing for this club.”

Our verdict: Unlike the other two new recruits, Raynes had not been playing regularly this season.

He had made just six appearances this campaign prior to his outing at Harrogate, with the defender’s last start coming in August.

It was perhaps, therefore, no surprise that he started off slowly.

Raynes will no doubt have held his hands up for the first goal - his weak clearance starting the move that lead to Harrogate’s first.

But after that, the 31-year-old started to show what he is really about.

Commanding in the area, tough in the tackle and vocal throughout - Raynes is exactly what Pools have needed at the back.

As Money stated, Raynes will get better as time progresses with his lack of game time no doubt a factor in his first performance.

The positives were there, though, and we’ve certainly seen enough to be encouraged by the Crewe loanee.