Matthew Bates backs Pools pair to hit double figures

Niko Muir in action against Solihull Moors.
Niko Muir in action against Solihull Moors.

Matthew Bates is backing Niko Muir and Luke James to hit double figures for Hartlepool United this season.

The duo have had few chances in front of goal of late, despite Pools’ remarkable seven-game unbeaten run.

Matthew Bates.

Matthew Bates.

But Bates is still sure his frontmen will hit the back of the net, provided they keep turning in the level of performances they produced recently.

“If we keep creating chances we will score more goals than we have done lately,” said Bates of his side’s 12-goal haul from their opening 10 games.

“I think Niko and Luke have worked their socks off for us.

“Niko had chances that I see him finish in training with ease. I told them not to worry about the goals tally - that will improve if they keep doing what they are doing.

“It is the same with Luke.

“Them two have not had the rewards in terms of goals that their performances have deserved.

“I am sure they will both get into double figures this season.”

After a gruelling start to the season, Bates is keen to give his players a break, especially talisman and top-scorer Liam Noble, who proved Pools’ matchwinner again at the weekend.

“We will give the lads a couple of days off because of the amount of games that they have had recently,” said the manager.

“We have no midweek, so that works.

“Liam is great for the team morale.

“What a finish from him. He was frustrating before that as he kept giving the ball away but he keeps wanting the ball and takes risks. That’s exactly what we want from him.”