Ryan Donaldson is proving more hit than miss after an up and down first season at Pools, according to Matthew Bates.
The manager admits he is impressed by how quickly the former winger has adapted to his adopted right wing-back berth.
And Bates is backing Donaldson to continue to put a “hit and miss” first season at Hartlepool behind him.
“Ryan enjoys playing there - he can get forward but he also does the defensive work well,” said the manager, whose side beat Havnt & Waterlooville on Saturday.
“He is an experienced lad and intelligent, too. You can tell that when we go through the set-pieces he watches, learns and listens. That is one of the reasons he is in that position.
“He had a hit and miss season last season. Maybe we rushed him back from injury, but it was the position we were in as a club at the time.
“He has gone from strength-to-strength this season.”
Another player who impressed on Saturday was defender Peter Kioso.
Bates knows the 19-year-old has a “bright future in the game”.
“I like to think that because I was a defender I can see a player in that position. And as soon as he came in he stood out,” said former Middlesbrough man Bates.
“He was leading the lads, shouting, tackling. I was impressed.
“He is another who has a very bright future in the game, if he keeps his feet on the ground.
“It’s early days for Peter. What he has to do is keep this up.”