COLIN Cooper believes Marlon Harewood will have a “positive impact” at Hartlepool United and is not here for an easy ride.
The Pools boss is set to unleash his new signing on Fleetwood Town tomorrow as the side look to return to form in Sky Bet League Two (kick-off 3pm).
Harewood has trained well with the squad and Cooper feels the deal carries no risks.
It would not be unfair to say that a couple of high-profile 30-somethings signings by Pools in recent times – Nolberto Solano and Steve Howard – have failed to pay dividend,
And while Cooper mentioned no names, he insists Pools will be a far strong and more potent force with the 34-year-old powerhouse in their squad.
“I don’t see signing him as a risk,” Cooper said.
“I think Hartlepool has had a hangover of things like that.
“No disrespect to anyone who has been here in the past, but he is a different kettle of fish – he is still fit, still strong and still hungry.
“My first question to Marlon when we met was ‘are you still hungry, to score goals, to intimidate defenders, to still run and chase?’.
“The answer to them all was yes and I know he will be a positive asset in the dressing room and will help the young strikers and the squad in general.
“On the back of having a smashing career, he is a good person.
“He had a really good, hard physical session on Tuesday and another yesterday.
“We’ll train today and go from there. There’s nothing to suggest he can’t play at Fleetwood.”
Harewood has not played since playing for Bristol City Under-21s last month before being released by new Robins boss Steve Cotterill.
Cooper feels people should not read too much into his stay at Ashton Gate, when he scored once in 17 appearance.
The Pools manager feels Harewood will have something of a point to prove after his stay there.
“The frustration at Bristol City is that Marlon felt he was doing the job asked of him by Sean O’Driscoll as an older player, as a mentor to the younger players,” he said.
“But he still felt he was better than those players and thought he should have been playing.”
Perhaps, unlike O’Driscoll, Cooper believes Harewood will deliver on and off the field.
“I believe we need a figurehead,” said Cooper who believes Harewood will inject some freshness into his squad.
“Marlon has come in with a completely clean outlook.
“He’s enjoyed the atmosphere, he thinks we are a good club and have a good bunch of young players – he’s looking forward to being a part of that and having an impact.
“The important thing to me is not just what he can give us helping young strikers, it’s what he can actually give us on the field.
“Yes, he can help the young players and the team in general.
“For Luke James, James Poole, Jonathan Franks, Nialle Rodney and any player in a forward position, they should have respect for Marlon for the career he’s had.
“What he has to show is that his career’s not finished and that he’s not just here to wind down.
“Marlon has to show he’s here and raring to go.
“I know there were other opportunities out there for him and I’m delighted that he chose to come here.
“I know he’ll be a positive role model for the younger players and have a positive impact on the pitch.”