Luke James hoping for better fortune than 12 months ago

HEAD BOY: Luke James in action against Crawley Town. Picture by FRANK REID
HEAD BOY: Luke James in action against Crawley Town. Picture by FRANK REID

LUKE James is a young man hoping history does not repeat itself.

Twelve months ago, the gifted teenager was flying and emerged from the summer trip to the Netherlands as one of the bright prospects for the season.

He played in the first ‘competitive’ game of the season - a Capital One Cup trip to Crewe Alexandra.

The word competive was deliberately put in inverted commas because the tie was anything but.

Pools, then under Neale Cooper, were humiliated 5-0 by their fellow League One side.

James disappeared from the scene and wasn’t see again until it was too late.

The 18-year-old played blinder after blinder.

Every time he stepped out onto the field he produced the goods.

Who could forget his standing ovation at Tranmere Rovers? And that was off the home fans!

Or his superbly-taken goal in the televised draw against Brentford, just days after the team had been relegated.

Everyone was left to ponder ‘where has he been?’ and ‘why wasn’t he picked earlier?’

This time, James wants to impress in Holland and not just start and finish the season, he wants to play in all of it!

“Hopefully a bit more will be seen of me,” James told SportMail on the eve of their departure to Holland.

“If I work hard and play well, hopefully things will pay off for me.

“It was frustrating last campaign.

“I was out for a while and then had an injury around Christmas time which did not help me.

“Hopefully, this time I can stay injury-free and pick up where I left off.

“If I’m being honest I never wanted the season to end.”

James could - and should - be one of the key figures in the 2013-14 League Two promotion challenge, whether that is through the middle or out wide.

“Up front is my preferred position but I honestly don’t mind where I play,” he said.

“I’d play centre-back if it meant I was out on the field trying to help the lads win, week-in, week-out.

“I just want to play football that’s all I want to do and hopefully us as a team can bounce back.”

James believes working with Pools new assistant boss Craig Hignett can also be of great benefit to his game.

“It’ll be very good and hopefully I can learn a few things from him,” James explained. “He was a great player in the past.

“I’m hoping he can pass on a few things to me.”

James will get that opportunity this week in the Netherlands.

Pools will be training hard at their HQ as well as playing two games, at Almere on Thursday night and Telstar on Saturday afternoon.

“It’s good in Holland,” he said.

“The football is a bit different over there so it’s good to sample a different culture.

“It’s good to work on your fitness as well.”