HARTLEPOOL boss Neale Cooper believes the “real” Luke James will now re-emerge in the wake of his strike in Saturday’s 2-0 win against Scunthorpe United.
The 17-year-old came off the bench to volley his side’s second as Pools saw home their first three points of the season.
Just 72 hours earlier, James had been part of a reserve team beaten 4-0 by Chesterfield, a game in which he failed to catch the eye.
But the redoubtable rookie bounced back, and Cooper is adamant it will be a season-turning moment for his young striker.
“As a player it sometimes takes just that one moment to change things,” Cooper said. “He’s had a really hard time lately and has had a bit of a dip.
“He’s struggled to reach the levels he did when he first came on the scene.
“It was a fantastic goal as well. It will give him a real boost and I think we’ll see the real Luke James now.”
Pools took the lead after 23 minutes when Jonathan Franks smashed home in emphatic fashion.
It should have been 2-0 after Josh Walker was sent off for handling to keep out Tony Sweeney’s goal-bound header.
Steve Howard took the spot-kick but Sam Slocombe make a fine save.
The nerves were calmed though when James fired home after chesting the ball down, giving Pools a well-earned first victory of the campaign.
Hartlepool: Flinders, Austin, Collins, Hartley, Horwood, Franks (Holden 70), Murray, Sweeney, Monkhouse, Poole (James 62), Howard. Subs Not Used: McHugh, Humphreys, Walton, Luscombe, Baldwin. Goals: Franks 23, James 86.
Scunthorpe: Slocombe, Ribeiro, Mirfin, Canavan, Newey, Prutton, Ryan (Jennings 55), Walker, Duffy, Grella, Barcham (Keegan 71). Subs Not Used: Severn, Gibbons, Hughes, Howe. Sent Off: Walker (79).
Att: 3, 863 Ref: David Coote (Nottinghamshire).