Richard Money has backed Ryan Donaldson to hit the goal trail for Hartlepool United after finally breaking his duck for the season.
And the new Pools manager is happy for Donaldson’s teammates to keep taking the mick provided he keeps hitting the back of the net.
Donaldson’s superb solo strike ensured Money’s Hartlepool tenure got off to the perfect start away at Leamington.
The former Newcastle United academy product was a key player under Money at Cambridge United, so the quality of his strike was no surprise.
The only surprise was it took so long to arrive, with Saturday his 24th appearance of the season.
In Donaldson’s defence, the 27-year-old has been playing wing-back for much of the campaign.
Money, though, is all too aware of what he can offer in the final third.
Money said: “He’s just told me that’s his first goal of the season, I did say to the players [on Friday] he does score goals, they all laughed!
“For someone who hasn’t played as a striker for quite some time I would suggest, running from midfield as we had him on Saturday, he has proven to me in the past that he can chip in with his fair share of goals.
“I don’t know exactly how many he got each season at Cambridge but it wouldn’t be too far off double figures.
“It was a good goal, really good goal.
“All I can say is he’s done it on a regular basis for me for Cambridge so I don’t see why he can’t do it at Hartlepool.
“The lads are giving him some stick because he’s scored because I’ve come and if that’s the case let’s see if he can get a few more.”
Donaldson spent three seasons at Cambridge United, spending time working under Money, his former academy director at Newcastle.
The 63-year-old led Cambridge to promotion via the play-offs in 2014, when they beat Gateshead in the play-off final at Wembley, where they also lifted the FA Trophy.
Pools opted for the vastly experienced Money to help revive Hartlepool United’s season following a disappointing end to Matthew Bates’s time in charge.
Victory over Leamington in the FA Trophy was the perfect start ahead of his first home game on Saturday, with Havant & Waterlooville the visitors for the National League fixture.
For Money, it was a case of job done at Leamington.
He added: “I think that sums it up, probably the first thing I should say is well done to the supporters who travelled.
“They’ve come in good numbers and that was great.
“Tough conditions to play in, heavy rain gale force winds and we got through so that’s probably the best that we can say.
“I thought we tried manfully to keep the ball on the floor and try and build, I thought we played quite comfortably in deep areas in the middle zone.
“I thought we were quite good in there but couldn’t open them up as much as we wanted to.
“In fairness to them we’ve seen them a couple of times in a 4-5-1, very difficult to break down, sort of try and break through us if you can, try and hit us on the counter attack or from a set-play.
“That really was the format of the game, we kept trying to do the right thing but some of our passing was a bit loose especially in the final third.”