Hartlepool United striker not setting any goal targets yet

Luke James.
Luke James.
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LUKE James is looking to better his goalscoring antics from last season but admits he is yet to set himself a target this time round.

The 19-year-old was Hartlepool United’s star of the show last year, netting 16 goals for the Sky Bet League Two club.

His form on the pitch led to Amble-born James being crowned both Supporters and Players’ Player of the Year at the club’s annual awards.

James insists he is capable of bettering 16 goals but admits he is yet to sit down and set a specific target.

He could well have reached the landmark 20-goal tally in the last campaign but an ankle injury away to Burton Albion in the final few weeks of the season put an end to that particular dream.

It only took until last November, however, for the in-form striker to net his 10th of the season, scoring in a convincing 2-0 win over Northampton Town and smashing his own secret pre-Christmas target in the process.

After the match he revealed that last summer he had sat down with his Dad, off-shore worker Ian, and the pair set the youngster the aim of getting into double figures before December 25.

That target was comfortably achieved but he is now looking to better last season, without putting too much pressure on himself.

“I haven’t set myself any targets for this year just yet,” highly-rated James said.

“I will see how the pre-season training and friendly matches go and then probably have a sit down a couple of days before the first game of the season and work out what my targets are from there.

“Hopefully, I can try and score as many as I can and have a better season than last year - that is the ultimate aim. If I do that, I’d be happy.

“The injury at Burton set me back a little bit because I was trying to get a few more goals.”

The Pools squad are back at their Maiden Castle training base in Durham, following a successful week-long pre-season training camp at La Cala Resort, in southern Spain.

There weren’t any matches during the club’s time away.

Instead, the camp was a chance for boss Colin Cooper to further drum his footballing philosophies into his players ahead of another long League Two campaign.

The week away was also chance for James and experienced strike-partner Marlon Harewood to work on their partnership ahead of the season’s curtain raiser at Stevenage, on August 9.

As things stand, Cooper only has the two recognised strikers at his disposal, although Jonathan Franks is also capable of playing through the middle.

For James though, the former Premier League striker has been a huge help in terms of developing his own game.

The teenager added: “I am looking forward to building on my partnership with Marlon.

“We have been working hard on that partnership, which was building nicely last season, until I had my injury towards the end of the season.

“I am looking to better that this season though and Marlon is always giving me advice and helping me out.

“I can’t wait to continue working with him.”