HARTLEPOOL United could make a loan move for Sunderland striker Ryan Noble, writes CRAIG HOPE.
Pools boss Neale Cooper has made no secret of the fact that he is in the market for some extra firepower.
Noble returned to the Stadium of Light this week after a second stint at Derby County and is thought to be keen to head back out on loan.
The 20-year-old failed to score during his time at Pride Park but first-team opportunity was limited and his time on the pitch amounted to little over 90 minutes.
Cooper is desperate to strengthen his attacking options having seen Pools draw a blank in their last two matches.
A move for Brighton’s George Barker fell through this week and other targets have not impressed Cooper.
Noble, though, could fit the bill given his prolific, goalscoring exploits at junior and reserve-team level for the Black Cats.
But Sunderland boss Martin O’Neill will allow the England Under-19 striker to “catch his breath” before any potential loan switch.
“To be fair, Ryan Noble has just got back this week and I haven’t really had the chance to talk to him just yet,” he said.
“I’ll let him catch his breath and we’ll sit down and talk about where he might go.”
Meanwhile, Sunderland-born Noble insists that he leaves Pride Park with no hard feelings.
“I have enjoyed my time at Derby,” he said.
“They are a great club and the boss, Nigel Clough, has been excellent with me.”
“With other players now coming back into the picture, it looks better that I move on.
“I am now back to full fitness and just want to be playing football.”
Clough said: “We had a chat with Ryan on Monday and with Theo Robinson, Nathan Tyson and Steven Davies now edging towards full fitness after injury, we couldn’t promise him a regular start.
“He has been great to have around the place and we’re as frustrated as him that his chances were limited during the month.
“Had he been given permission he’d have played in the FA Cup against Stoke City and there was a good chance he’d have started against Forest too when it got called off because of the snow.
“Ryan has been really unlucky and he goes back to Sunderland with our very best wishes. We’d like to thank Martin O’Neill for allowing him to spend some time with us.”
l POOLS v Notts County match report in Monday’s SportMail.