Talented Sunderland attacker told to relax ahead of huge game

Andrew Nelson
Andrew Nelson

Dave Jones will be demanding the maximum 100% effort from Hartlepool United’s players against Plymouth tomorrow – but he’ll be telling Andrew Nelson not to try TOO hard!

Nelson excited the fans at the Northern Gas & Power Stadium when he starred in the 1-1 draw with Yeovil Town on his Pools debut.

Andrew has got to relax a bit more, stop being so uptight


But the following two games have not gone to script for the teenage attacking talent, who is on loan from Sunderland for the remainder of the season.

Nelson was not short of effort at either Mansfield Town, where he operated in the wide role he impressed in against Yeovil, or in the central position at Luton on Tuesday night.

But neither match went his way and he was subbed on the hour at Kenilworth Road.

But with on-loan Plymouth forward Louis Rooney not permitted to face his own club tomorrow at the Vic, Nelson will certainly be in contention for a starting role.

“I wanted to change things around, that’s why I mixed things up the other night and picked Andrew,” said Jones.

“You saw him fighting but he struggled a little bit.

“Andrew has got to relax a bit more, stop being so uptight, but that’s him, he’s desperate to perform well.

“He’s real busy bee and with all that adrenaline, all the emotion, he finds it hard to settle down.

“You see people come in and try to win game on their own and Andrew is one of those, but he needs to relax a bit and just play.”

Nelson is a young man who can play as he proved in the last home game.

He created chances for Pools against the Glovers, Padraig Amond converting one with a stunning header, with Rooney going agonisingly close with two others.

It will be interesting to see what frontline Jones plumps for against the Pilgrims.

At Luton, Nelson was played centrally with Rhys Oates and Nathan Thomas providing the support.

Amond came on for the Sunderland teenager and certainly made a difference as Pools enjoyed the bulk of the play in the second half against the Hatters.

The leading scorer is almost certain to start tomorrow, though Nelson would be a contender too, given he showed on his debut that he can make things happen.

With Argyle boasting a miserly defence on their travels – just 11 goals conceded in 14 matches – that sort of player will be key to Pools.

Skipper Billy Paynter is definitely out with a sore Achilles, with Rooney not allowed to feature against the club who pay his wages.

Matthew Bates is missing with the hamstring injury which forced him off early in the 3-0 loss at Luton.

With Rob Jones (knee) a long-term absentee, Pools are short of experienced cover at the back.

Dave Jones has several young centre-halves among the club’s development squad but is likely to keep faith with Brad Walker who as outstanding there at Kenilworth Road.

With Liam Donnelly undergoing treatment to an ankle injury sustained at Mansfield, teenage talent Kenton Richardson is likely to retain the right-back spot after an excellent start in the first team.

Pools (probable): Fryer, Richardson, Walker, Harrison, Kavanagh, Featherstone, Woods,Thomas, Oates, Nelson, Amond

Subs (from): Bartlett, Martin, Pollock, Wise, Hawkins, Hawkes, Alessandra, Smith