COLIN Nish must shed his “lazy” look if he is to win over the Hartlepool United supporters.
That is the view of Pools boss Neale Cooper as he sets about reviving his fellow Scot’s Victoria Park career.
Cooper has already provided a much-needed shot in the arm to the likes of Neil Austin, Antony Sweeney and Gary Liddle since his return to the club in December – and now he wants to help kick-start Nish’s season.
The 30-year-old made a scoring return to action during Saturday’s 4-0 rout of Carlisle United having been sidelined for two months following knee surgery.
Prior to that absence he had netted just three times from 15 outings and had come under criticism from some sections of the home support.
Cooper sees reason for that from the often-languid style of his No.9, but he also sees potential for Nish to become one of the first names on his team-sheet, evidenced by his tidy, first-time finish against the Cumbrians.
The Pools chief said: “Colin Nish has had a hard time since he came here.
“He knows he has to do better than when he first came down.
“He can naturally look like a lazy player and that’s just his manner and body language.
“But he has to get rid of that because the Hartlepool people like hard-working boys.
“I don’t think he is a lazy player, but sometimes your style as a player can give that impression.”
But Cooper was delighted with the contribution of Nish during the final 20 minutes against Carlisle.
It was a cameo which culminated in his fourth goal of the campaign, the former Hibernian striker sliding onto Andy Monkhouse’s headed flick before poking through the legs of visiting goalkeeper Adam Collin.
And Cooper has revealed he delivered a pre-appearance pep-talk to his frontman.
“I said to him before he came on ‘work hard for these fans and that’s half the battle’,” Cooper added.
“And then he comes on and scores, which is great for him, and I thought he was excellent.”
Nish will probably start from the bench again at Bury on Saturday as Pools look to extend their four-match unbeaten run.
But Cooper anticipates a starting role in the near future.
“Colin offers something different, he’s been out for six weeks and his fitness levels will come,” he went on.
“He will work at that in the next few weeks and we’ll start to see more and more of him.
“He could be a big player for us but we’ll take our time and ease him back in.”