Ex-defender Matthew Bates gives his verdict on Middlesbrough loan striker

Tyrone O'Neill.
Tyrone O'Neill.

Matthew Bates has revealed Middlesbrough loan striker Tyrone O'Neill could be in line for a swift National League start at Hartlepool.

Pools only signed the striker in the hours before they travelled down to Gillingham for their FA Cup clash last weekend.

And O'Neill had such a big impression, Bates handed him his first-team debut in the 0-0 draw at Priestfield.

Now, Bates has revealed he is considering throwing the 19-year-old in from the start in front of the live BT Sports cameras against Barnet this weekend.

"He did well, he brought a robustness," said the former Boro defender.

"He will not give the opposition any time on the ball but he is also is very good on the ball.

"He comes into contention for next week. We now have four strikers who are all competing for places in the team."

O'Neill has made nine Premier League 2 appearances for Boro's under-23s this season, scoring three times.

He has also played three games in the EFL Trophy to add to his FA Cup debut last weekend.

The rangy frontman is on loan at the Super 6 Stadium until January.