Luke James relishing Jake Cassidy reunion as frontman returns to Hartlepool United

Jake Cassidy has returned to Hartlepool United this week.
Jake Cassidy has returned to Hartlepool United this week.

Jake Cassidy has returned to Hartlepool United this week - and fellow striker Luke James can't wait to play alongside the 25-year-old targetman.

James started the season in a three-pronged frontline alongside second top scorer Niko Muir and Cassidy, before former boss Matthew Bates had a change of heart.

Luke James has two goals for Hartlepool United this season.

Luke James has two goals for Hartlepool United this season.

Cassidy was sent on loan to Maidstone United, despite making a goalscoring start to his second season with Pools.

On Wednesday, the former Wolves striker returned to the fold at the club's Peterlee training base.

And James admits he is looking forward to getting back out on the park with his teammate.

"He is welcome back," said James.

"Everyone who has played with him knows how good a player he is.

"Everyone will have to be on their toes because it is another striker back in the squad and more competition for places.

"I played with Jake earlier this season and I know exactly what strengths he has. We will see how the move goes."

James has been playing in a deeper role under new boss Richard Money, popping up on the right and the left at times in the manager's midfield 'four'.

It's a role James seems perfectly suited to - and he's hoping it might help kick-start his season in terms of goals.

"It doesn't matter how the goals in, but that's what I get judged on," said James, who has scored just twice so far this campaign.

"When you are classed as a striker, it is your job to score goals.

"If you have played well every game of the season but come away with no goals I don't think anyone will remember how well you have played, will they?

"I always want to score, every game I play. I got one the other week but I need a little run of goals."

Pools won their first National League game under Money on New Year's Day - and James admits he's been impressed with the impact the experienced manager has had about the Super 6 Stadium.

"He has had quite a big impact," said the forward, in his third spell in blue and white.

"Obviously as soon as he walked through the door everyone wanted to impress from the off and show what they can do.

"The manager has been very good - he has us playing a slightly different way and it seems to be working.

"I am just enjoying it and I want to play as many games and score as possible under the new manager.

"Everyone is enjoying being out there at the moment."

Money has made no secret of his desire to add bodies in the January transfer window - even though it does not strictly apply to Pools or the fifth tier.

James would welcome the competition.

"The competition for places is what everyone wants," he said.

"It means no player can rest on their laurels, so to hear the manager say he wants to add another striker is no bad thing for the rest of us."