Middlesbrough youngster is determined to become Hartlepool United’s no.1

Joe Fryer
Joe Fryer

January loan capture Joe Fryer says he’s not just come to Hartlepool United to sit on the bench.

The youngster, signed on a deal until the end of the season from Premier League Middlesbrough last month, is determined to dislodge experienced campaigner Adam Bartlett as Dave Jones’ no.1.

The manager says I perform he will pick me. That’s what I intend to do

Fryer was between the sticks as Pools second string beat counterparts Mansfield Town in the Central League encounter at Billingham Town yesterday afternoon.

And although he had very little to do - given that he could do nothing to prevent the Stags’ equaliser on the stroke of half-time, his size, presence and stature was hard not to spot.

Gaffer Jones was on the terraces and will no doubt have taken note.

Fryer, who has been on the Pools bench of late, admits he has not just come to the League Two outfit for the first-team flavour. He wants to taste action for real.

“I have come to challenge Barts,” said the intelligent but forthright Boro kid.

“Of course, I have come here to play first team games.

“I want to push him.

“Hopefully I can break into the first-team soon.”

The Northern Gas & Power Stadium might well have been on the 21-year-old’s doorstep, but it is hardly the easiest team to get in, especially with seasoned lower league pro Bartlett in possession of the gloves.

But it is that kind of challenge which gets Fryer going.

He continued: “It is down to you. That’s what the manager said to me when I came.

“He says if I perform he will pick me.

“So that is what I intend to do. I enjoy the challenge.

“I know it is not easy to get into the team here because Barts is a good goalkeeper.

“I am not just challenging him, I am challenging myself.”

Reflecting on the reserve game, in which Pools ran out late 2-1 winners, Fryer was delighted to get minutes under his belt, as well as secure three points so late on.

“I haven’t played for a while so it was good to get some minutes,” he said.

“I hope I have done enough but he won’t have learned much from that game - I had so little to do.

“It is frustrating as a goalkeeper when you do not have anything to do then you concede a goal like that.

“I couldn’t do anything about it.

“Hopefully by the end of the season I will be getting those.

“Overall I was pleased with our performance.

“It always feels good to get the win in the end. A last-minute winner always feels better.

“It was a great free-kick to win it, too.”