SAM Collins believes the future is bright for Hartlepool United thanks to the strong crop of teenage talent bursting through the ranks, writes RICHARD MENNEAR.
The 36-year-old central defender has combined first-team duties with helping out with Pools’ reserve team this season and he describes the potential among the younger players as “great”.
The veteran, set for a run in the first team following the deadline day sale of Jack Baldwin to Peterborough, insists the reward is there for those younger players who want it most and points to Michael Duckworth, Luke James and 17-year-old Brad Walker as examples of players who have grasped the opportunities given to them.
Collins, a former Hull City, Port Vale and Bury defender, said: “Some of the stuff the reserves are playing now is great.
“There are some really good young kids coming through and the signs are good for the club, really.
“You look at the situation we have, Jack has obviously gone but we still have Michael Duckworth, young Luke and Brad – the potential is fantastic.
“But they still need that little guide, that little bit of experience in the team and that is what the older lads have done.
“It also shows that the younger players can get a chance in the first team as the gaffer is not afraid to put them in, which is brilliant.
“To give them that freedom to say ‘right, we are prepared to give you a run as long as you learn from your mistakes and get better’. And they are getting better.”
Meanwhile, Pools manager Colin Cooper is still running the rule over trialist Jordan Deacey but admits the Bradford Park Avenue midfielder, 19, has impressed during his time at the club.
“The two reserve games that Jordan has played were against younger opposition but he has really sparkled and he is only 19,” said Cooper.
“Jordan is obviously non-contract, so we could bring him in until the end of the season and have a look but I will have a chat with Jordan. At 19, I think there is definitely some potential there.”