WITH just five goals scored in the league so far this season it doesn’t take a brain surgeon to work out where Hartlepool United’s problems lie.
Selling Luke James, who bagged 16 goals last term, was always going to leave Pools shy on that front and despite the best efforts of on-loan Middlesbrough striker Charlie Wyke, finding the net remains a problem for the lowest scorers in the division.
Wyke – who has scored three times in five appearances since joining Pools on loan – missed the long trip to Plymouth Argyle last weekend after being knocked out in the Northampton Town match.
But he is back fit and raring to go this weekend against Portsmouth. And that is a major boost to manager Colin Cooper.
Cooper said: “Goals have been an issue, but Charlie has been great for us.
“For the games he has played, the goals he has scored and the energy and enthusiasm he has shown with it, is great.
“He has played like that because he wants to be here and to have him back amongst everything will be great for us.
“He knows he can play at this level, and higher, but one thing that he is doing is scoring goals and scoring them regularly.
“For a young striker that can only put you in a good place because it gives you the confidence.
“It is a huge boost to him knowing he can come here, play and score regularly.
“To score three in a month, there is nothing to stop him getting another, three, six, eight during his time here.
“The one thing he will have learned from the Northampton game is that his body can take the rigours as well.”
Wyke was late for training at Maiden Castle yesterday though, albeit he had a good excuse – the young striker was at the dentist’s having treatment to a cracked tooth.
Cooper added: “Charlie has been to the dentist – as a centre-forward or centre-half you don’t get through your career without a knock!
“He woke up with a massive headache last Wednesday after the [Northampton] game and he’s also since cracked a tooth.
“He is alright though and is available for Saturday.”
As expected, Cooper this week sealed two-month loan extensions for Wyke and Sunderland defender Scott Harrison. That will see the pair staying at Pools until after the game with York City on Saturday, November 22.
With money tight, Cooper has been making the most of his connections with the North East clubs, something he is very keen to continue.
Cooper added: “Scott and Charlie are both staying longer now.
“They have both been good and the parent clubs are keen for them to be here and get football matches in, I like them both.
“They are good lads, with a hunger to have a professional career, so for them to come here and be with us, is good for everyone.
“With Newcastle’s Freddie Woodman here as well, it’s three lads I’m happy to have.
“When I came here in my tenure as manager I said the perfect thing for the North-East is for us to give their players a chance in the Football League and for them to come and watch them on their doorstep.
“Having worked at Middlesbrough and having a relationship with Sunderland too, and with Newcastle I’ve been in communication with Alan Pardew, Steve Stone and John Carver and we now have Freddie here, which is a start.
“He wanted to come and he can be a really good goalkeeper.
“I want the connection to continue and I want the players to have the hunger and desire to roll their sleeves up and have a go.”