Matthew Bates: Lots more to come from Hartlepool United’s new recruits

Niko Muir in action for Hartlepool United.
Niko Muir in action for Hartlepool United.

Matthew Bates was impressed by new signing Niko Muir in his debut outing – but insists there is more to come from all of his additions.

Muir, a summer signing from Hendon Town, was handed an opportunity to impress as a lone striker during the second half of Pools’ 1-1 draw with Billingham.

And the 25-year-old seized his chance, putting in a fine performance which showcased the pace and power that made him an attractive buy for Pools.

The frontman was one of seven new additions to feature in the stalemate against the Northern League side as fans were given their first glimpse of the club’s latest recruits.

Bates was pleased with the impact they all made in their first outing – but is backing them to improve even further as the new season nears.

Special praise was reserved for Muir, who was unlucky not to net a debut goal after he saw a header acrobatically saved.

Nonetheless, Bates was pleased with the start made by the non-league hotshot.

“I thought he was very good up top in the second half,” admitted the Pools boss.

“He held the ball up well and there’s not many occasions where he gets the ball to his feet and loses it.

“It would have been nice if he had scored that header in the second half just to get him off to a goal-scoring start, but I was pleased with him and I think he was pleased with his own performance.”

Six other new faces were also making their first appearances, with Liam Noble, Paddy McLaughlin, Myles Anderson, Mark Kitching, Peter Kioso and Andrew Davies all given game time.

And they too impressed Bates, who believes that there is even more to come from his new-look side.

“They were good,” he added.

“I thought all the lads were good in their first game at the end of a tiring two weeks.

“There will be more to come from them as well, but I was pleased.”

Next for the new faces is a home debut, as League One side Sunderland visit Victoria Park on Saturday.

Despite the obvious intrigue around the fixture, Bates insists it is simply another opportunity for minutes in the tank.

He said: “We’re back in (training) all this week.

“I’m not looking at the fixtures as fixtures, as such. I’m looking at them as pre-season games and opportunities to get the fitness up.”