Hartlepool United’s striking strength gives Moore lift ahead of big kick-off

Hartlepool United manager Ronnie Moore.
Hartlepool United manager Ronnie Moore.
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Ronnie Moore is pleased with Hartlepool United’s strength in depth up front and insists he “doesn’t mind” who starts the season.

Pools look set to start the new League Two campaign with in-form Rakish Bingham and target man Billy Paynter leading the line – the pair having started the last three friendlies.

Scott Fenwick and ex-Barnsley forward Rhys Oates are also pushing hard for a start, though Moore has called on them to hold the ball up better.

Overall though, Moore is happy with his striking options ahead of the new season, which kicks off with next Saturday’s visit of Morecambe.

“With [Paynter and Bingham], one links up and one goes over the top, which helps,” Moore said, ahead of today’s final friendly at home to Chesterfield (KO 3pm).

“Against Gateshead, Scotty came on and gave it away, Oates did the same. They need to be tidier and if they do then they will be pushing.

“Oates is putting Bings under pressure though and Scotty is putting Paynter under pressure. But in all honesty, I don’t mind who plays up front.

“I am quite pleased with them as a unit – not overjoyed – but quite pleased so far.

“They have all done reasonably well,” added Moore.

Moore moved to strengthen his striking options quickly in the summer following the release of Marlon Harewood and Jordan Hugill’s return to Preston after his successful loan spell.

Oates, Bingham and Paynter were all brought in to compete with 25-year-old Fenwick for a starting spot

And their experienced manager admits it is a “tough” challenge to pick two out of the four but he is confident whoever starts will up their game by another “25 per cent” when the season starts next weekend.

Moore added: “It is tough to decide and you have to look at who you are playing against.

“But I firmly believe there is another 25 per cent to come for the league games – no doubt about that.

“Eventually two of them will show who they are, it is just a matter of finding the back of the net.”

Moore has been working his squad hard this week, with the players not given a day off as he looks to hone the 3-5-2 formation.

A strong side beat non-league Dunston UTS midweek and Moore is confident the defence has improved ahead of the visit of League One Chesterfield.

Moore added “You can say there is another 25 per cent to come, but you still have to be organised and do the right things in the right areas.

“It is just getting the back three and wing-backs sorted.”