The impressive turnaround that shows Hartelpool United are finally bringing out the best in their attacking players

It’s taken almost half a season but Hartlepool United’s forward players are finally starting to fire.

Monday, 18th November 2019, 5:00 pm
Lee Collins blocks an effort from Nickie Kabamba during the FA Cup match between Yeovil Town and Hartlepool United at Huish Park, Yeovil on Tuesday 12th November 2019. (Credit: Gareth Williams)
Lee Collins blocks an effort from Nickie Kabamba during the FA Cup match between Yeovil Town and Hartlepool United at Huish Park, Yeovil on Tuesday 12th November 2019. (Credit: Gareth Williams)

At the start of the season, then manager Craig Hignett made the bold claim that the side didn’t need a 20 goal a season striker to be successful as there’s enough goals throughout the team to more than compensate for that.

But going into Hignett’s final match as Pools manager at Stockport County last month, Gime Toure was the only natural forward player to have found the back of the net on more than one occasion – that was 16 matches into the season.

But in the seven matches since, a number of attacking players have stepped up to the mark and lessened the burden on Toure to deliver the goods.

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Luke James of Hartlepool United during the Vanarama National League match between Ebbsfleet United and Hartlepool United at The Cufflink Stadium, Northfleet on Saturday 16th November 2019. (Credit: Leila Coker | MI News)

In the five matches under Antony Sweeney and following two under new manager Dave Challinor, Pools have been boosted by the impressive contributions of forwards Luke James and Nicke Kabamba as well as attacking-midfielder Gavan Holohan.

James has netted his first two goals of the season in recent weeks while also chipping in with a couple of assists while Kabamba has netted five in his last seven starts in all competitions.

Holohan has also chipped in considerably with five goals in the National League and FA Cup over the past month.

Top scorer Toure has also been able to find the net on one occasion despite a spell out of the side due to a hand injury.

Gime Toure converts his penalty to make it 4-1 to Pools during the FA Cup match between Yeovil Town and Hartlepool United at Huish Park, Yeovil on Tuesday 12th November 2019. (Credit: Gareth Williams)

“It’s massive to have our attacking players scoring because those are the players more than most where the finger is going to be pointed if the team aren’t scoring as freely,” said Challinor.

“They’ll be a focal point, whether we play as a two or a three, the emphasis is always going to be on them to score.

“To have our forwards scoring and Gav getting goals too is really pleasing.

“It’s important they take confidence from that because you live and die by your goals as a striker regardless of your link up play or work you do off the ball.

“We’ve scored six goals in two away games and it should have been a lot more, there’s still loads to work on.”