Pools chief scout Paul Baker on the hunt for the “next Paul Baker”

Paul Baker
Paul Baker

HARTLEPOOL United favourite Paul Baker is today beginning the task of bringing tomorrow’s stars to Victoria Park.

The 49-year-old – who scored 92 goals from 279 games for Pools over two spells – is settling into his new surroundings at his old home having been unveiled as the club’s chief scout and head of youth recruitment.

Baker will work closely with first-team coach Neale Cooper and youth development boss John Hewitson.

And, having been thrust into his role in the midst of the summer transfer window, Baker told SportMail that work begins right away.

“It’s absolutely fantastic to be back as part of the staff – a dream come true really,” said the promotion-winning star of 1991.

“But work starts today and I can’t wait.

“I’ve already had lengthy discussions with the manager, Micky (Barron) and Ritchie (Humphreys) about what we’re looking for, and it’s my job to help bring those players to Victoria Park.

“I’ve done a lot of research since the job was first discussed with me and we’ve got a few targets in mind already.

“I’m going to give it everything I’ve got and works starts right away.

“The amount of effort I will put in will hopefully reap its rewards at first team and youth level.”

Pools have added just Jonathan Franks to their ranks during the close season.

Cooper hopes that the winger will be the first of at least four attacking arrivals and the Scot was at the Vic yesterday stepping up those efforts.

And Baker, himself a fearless centre-forward, knows exactly what type of players resides at the summit of Pools’ wish list.

“It would be nice to bring in a player who can score or create those goals which we need,” added the Geordie talent-spotter.

“The world over it’s known that the game of football is all about scoring goals and they are the players everyone wants to find.

“You’ve heard the manager say that we’re not going to rush into anything and that’s right – you have to make sure it’s the right player, at the right time for this football club.

“But there’s room in this squad to bring players in and that’s our aim in the immediate future.

“It’s about knowing which player is right for us.

“The list of players available, those free agents, has become a 50-page document over the past few years.

“But there are a lot of things to take into context as a footballer at this time of year in terms of your next move and you have to be patient.

“So whether it’s the next Paul Baker, Brian Honour or Rob McKinnon, I just want to try and bring the best possible players in to play for this club.”