BRAD Walker has given Hartlepool United the perfect lift by pledging his future to the club, writes Roy Kelly.
Pools boss Colin Cooper is delighted the midfielder has signed a new and improved contract which had been on the table through the summer.
The news of the 18-year-old’s deal comes just at the right time for Pools, who have been weighed down with the Luke James transfer request saga, not to mention the small matter of trying to pick up points to move up the Sky Bet League Two table after a shaky start.
And it will also give the club a greater chance of securing a future big fee for the Billingham teenager – should a big club ever try to prise the talented youngster away.
Walker has been a revelation for Pools since coming onto the scene 12 months ago.
He was an ace goalscorer for the youth team when Colin Cooper took charge at the Vic but the boss and his then assistant Craig Hignett soon promoted him into the League Two squad, with spectacular results.
Walker produced brilliant performances and a couple of spectacular strikes along the way, the highlight being the screamer at Southend which won him the Pools goal of the season trophy.
Cooper said: “I’m delighted Brad has signed his new deal.
“Obviously he burst onto the scene last year and he signed his first professional contract around Christmas time.
“I felt after what he gave us last season and the attraction he was bringing to the club that he deserved a new deal.
“The chairman, Russ Green and myself put something together.
“We sat down with Brad, his dad and agent and we’re happy he’s signed.
“We’re delighted to have tied down a very talented player for a couple of years.
“The way he burst onto the scene and the level of his performances he deserves this.
“Now he’s signed it is a chance for him to concentrate on being a good young professional.”
Cooper has consistently sung the praises of the club’s two youngest and most talented players – Walker and James.
While Walker suffered a dip in form towards the end of last season, his overall form was exceptional, especially given he did not become 18 until a week before the end of the campaign.
James too was magnificent, bagging 16 goals and also having several big-name clubs sending their scouts to watch Pools.
The 19-year-old signed an improved contract in the summer himself which means Pools are under absolutely no pressure to sell – unless of course the price is right.
Cooper – and the club’s owners Increased Oil Recovery – have completed some good work in getting their best assets on two-year contracts.
“I know there is the situation with Luke at the moment,” Cooper explained. “But we’ve got a couple of players who can play at a higher level tied down to the club which is great for Hartlepool United.”