HARTLEPOOL United want on-loan Sunderland striker Ryan Noble back at Victoria Park next season.
Pools boss Neale Cooper has been taken by both the ability and attitude of the 20-year-old striker during his fortnight at Maiden Castle.
So much so that, after just three appearances and one goal, Cooper admits he would jump at the chance of making Noble an integral part of his squad going into the 2012-13 campaign.
“If he is enjoying it and Sunderland decide over the summer that we can take him then I would be very pleased with that,” the 48-year-old said ahead of tomorrow’s Good Friday League One trip to Colchester.
“But I know Ryan is enjoying it – I always keep in touch with him to make sure he’s OK.
“I watch things like that and know how important it is. He joins in the banter and it’s like he’s been here a long time, which is good for us as well as him.
“I’ve seen boys arrive at clubs who the others don’t take to, but Ryan is well liked and he is doing a job for the team everyone can see what he brings.
“The others are pleased to have him on board and see what he adds – bang, give him a chance and he gets on the end of it.”
Noble has scored Pools’ only goal from their last six outings, bagging the winner at Yeovil last month.
And Cooper has revealed the former England youth hitman was frustrated he did not add to that tally during last weekend’s defeat to Sheffield United.
“I got home on Saturday and had a missed call on my phone,” he explained, “It was Ryan.
“So I phoned back and wondered if there was a problem because he was a bit subdued after the game.
“But he was just phoning to say how disappointed he was at not scoring.
“Yet I thought he did well out there and never stopped working and I told him that.”
Cooper keeps in regular contact with Sunderland reserve-team boss Keith Bertschin with news on Noble’s progress.
And the Scot is keen to foster a trusted bond with the region’s bigger clubs, seeing the benefits of loan deals for both parties.
Tomorrow, ex-Sunderland defender Peter Hartley’s suspension means that youngster Jack Baldwin will partner Sam Collins – just the second time they have been paired together, the young-and-old combination enjoying a clean sheet during last month’s 1-0 win at Yeovil.
Collins said: “Jack’s done brilliantly. He did well at Yeovil at centre-back and I’m looking forward to it – I like playing with him.”
Boss Cooper admits that a top-10 finish could hinge on the outcome of tomorrow’s clash – 10th-placed Colchester are three points ahead of Pools with six games left.
HARTLEPOOL UNITED (probable): Flinders; Austin, Baldwin, Collins, Horwood; Liddle, Murray, Sweeney; Brown, Noble, Monkhouse. Subs: Rafferty, Humphreys, Boyd, Haslam, Richards