Luke James turned down Oxford to sign for Hartlepool United

Luke James
Luke James

Luke James “can’t wait” to pull on the shirt and start scoring goals for Hartlepool United again.

The 22-year-old told SportMail his decision to return to Pools was a “no-brainer”, turning down title-chasing Oxford United.

Everyone who knows me knows how much this club means to me, so I’m excited to be back. Coming here was a no-brainer


James has been released early from a season-long loan at Bradford City to make the move back to the Vic.

Pools, following protracted negotiations with Peterborough United, beat off opposition from Stevenage and Oxford for the striker’s signature.

“I remember my first game well and I remember my first goal in a blue and white shirt and there’s no better feeling,” said James. “The first is very special but I’m looking forward to Saturday and hope to get the next.

“I can’t wait to pull on that shirt again and score some goals.

“I’m relieved it’s done. There had been a few rumours in the press the last couple of weeks.

“Everyone who knows me knows how much this club means to me, so I’m excited to be back. Coming here was a no-brainer.

“When I first heard the rumours I thought ‘is it true? is it not true?’

“Then when I found out it was true, I couldn’t have been happier. It was only going to be Hartlepool for me.”

James had the chance of putting pen to paper at the Kassam Stadium and winning a championship medal with Oxford.

But the Northumberland-born forward, who left Pools for Peterborough in a £500,000-plus deal in August 2014, only had thoughts for his beloved Pools and his determination to help the club out of relegation trouble.

“It’s not the greatest of situations,” said James. “I have been following the team and the results.

“I do think we have a good squad to get out of this.

“Win a couple and our position will be transformed.”

James has failed to find the net this season for Bradford, though he has had little time on the park.

While he has been in the Bradford match-day 18 for almost every match, he has made only four starts and come off the bench nine times.

His pitch-time totals just 379 minutes, but James insists he is fit and positive about Pools even though his time to Valley Parade was unsuccessful.

“It didn’t really work out for me,” admitted James who still has more than two years left on his contract at Peterborough.

“It’s a great club, I played with some top lads and the people there were fantastic

“I wish them all the best for the rest of the season, but for me, it was time for a new challenge.

“I couldn’t really quite put my finger on why it did not work out – if I could I would have been able to do something about it!

“Now, I just want to concentrate on Hartlepool and try to help the team as much as I can.

“I still have a few years left on my contract [at Peterborough] but at the minute all I want to do is take it a game at a time here.

“As a striker, it’s all about goals and I need to get back on the goal trail again.”