Murray plots hat-trick of new Hartlepool signings

Hartlepool new boy Sidney Schmeltz in action against East Thurrock United. Picture by Frank Reid
Hartlepool new boy Sidney Schmeltz in action against East Thurrock United. Picture by Frank Reid
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PAUL Murray is set to add three new signings to his Hartlepool United squad in the coming days – including another striker.

Pools beat Ryman League side East Thurrock United 2-0 at Victoria Park on Saturday to progress into tonight’s FA Cup second round draw, leaving Murray to celebrate his first win in charge.

A Jonathan Franks double was enough to see off the Essex men, whose keeper David Hughes was outstanding.

Pools would have scored far more but for a mixture of poor finishing and brilliant shot-stopping which left Murray calling for his side to be more clinical.

Since taking charge Murray has made three signings – midfielders Sidney Schmeltz, Nicky Featherstone and striker Scott Fenwick – but he wants three more permanent signings in the door.

“There are three other targets that I am interested in and we are going to try and get them over the line early this week,” said Murray.

“Whether we can or not, the wheels are turning, but we’ll have to see.

“One will be a striker. We only have two of our own strikers on the books, that is not very good.”

Former Dunston UTS forward Fenwick was cup-tied against East Thurrock, while Middlesbrough did not allow on-loan Charlie Wyke to play, leaving Murray with just Marlon Harewood to call on.

He was supported by Schmeltz and Franks out on the wing, who scored a brilliant 25-yard opener in the 32nd minute, before nodding home on the line for 2-0 on 86.

But Franks and Harewood were both guilty of missing several gilt-edged chances to make it a more comfortable afternoon.

“Their keeper was fantastic and pulled off some marvellous saves, but we need to be more clinical,” said Murray.

“It is a boost to create so many chances, no matter who you are playing against, but we need to finish more chances.

“Scott (Fenwick) will definitely be involved next week against Southend United (in League Two on Saturday), for sure, because his percentages are great.

“In training the other day,he must have had 20 shots, 15 were on target and he scored 10 of them. It would have been a great game for Scott to have come off the bench or started in but he was cup tied.

“I am pleased to have got the backing from the club (to bring in new players).

“I have worked hard to get the deals that we have done thrashed out and I’m keen to get the others in, if we can.”

Of the three targets, one is expected to be another central defender and a goalkeeper.

For the third successive match, Pools did not name a back-up stopper on the bench and have been without a permanent second-choice goalie since Andy Rafferty left early in the campaign.

Murray has had three trialists training, including ex-Boro keeper James Montgomery and former Doncaster stopper Jonathan Maxted.

HARTLEPOOL: Flinders, Duckworth, Collins, Austin, Jones, Richards, Featherstone, Walker, Franks, Schmeltz (Woods, 73), Harewood. Subs not used: Holden, Bates, Hawkins, Smith, Green, Crooks. Booked: Duckworth. Goals: Franks 32, 86

EAST THURROCK UNITED: Hughes, Peddie, Wood, Goodacre, Stephen (C), Witherspoon (Symons, 87), Parmenter, Bryant (Sammons, 80), Smith, Gilbey (Harris, 65), Higgins. Subs not used: Anderson, Paxman, Burton. Booked: Higgins, Harris

Att: 2,800. Ref: Ben Toner (Lancashire)

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