RONNIE Moore admits it makes a welcome change to be facing a “selection headache” with the return of Marlon Harewood from suspension.
The 35-year-old missed the defeats to Morecambe and Wycombe Wanderers and the 2-0 win over Cheltenham Town – which ended a 12-match winless streak – after seeing red for violent conduct at Mansfield Town on Boxing Day.
But he won’t be walking straight back into the side as Moore has since added Mansfield Town striker Rakish Bingham, who excelled alongside Scott Fenwick in the win over Cheltenham.
The pair struck up a promising partnership in their first match together and both found the net as Pools won for the first time in the league since mid-October.
Experienced Moore has welcomed Harewood’s return to action but admits he is by no means guaranteed a starting berth on Saturday away at Shrewsbury, who are fourth in Sky Bet League Two.
Bingham, 21, has pace to burn and Moore has been raving about his finishing since joining Pools on loan until the end of the season.
Meanwhile, 24-year-old Fenwick has been in and out of the side since turning pro after leaving non-league Dunston UTS but Moore admits his battling performance against Cheltenham makes it difficult to leave him out.
Moore told SportMail: “Scotty isn’t playing for the Dog & Duck now and he won’t get 40 goals in a season.
“He is a professional footballer and needs to look after the ball better and know the runs.
“But against Cheltenham he showed me something which I didn’t think he had.
“If he performs like that every week how do you leave him out?
“He has to [perform to that level] if he wants to stay a professional, he has to do that.
“I thought he was fantastic.
“We also have Marlon available now after his suspension and that gives me a little headache – which is great.
“I haven’t had that for a while.
“When you turn around and look at the bench there has been a lot of kids on there but it was stronger on Saturday against Cheltenham and Marlon coming back gives me another option.”
Those options could be boosted further with the Pools boss still keen to add two more signings to his squad this week, with the likelihood being loan additions.
Experienced Moore has prioritised another striker to add further competition up front as well as a winger.
Former Rotherham United winger Febian Brandy was on Moore’s radar but he has since signed for Rochdale until the end of the season following his release from the Millers.
The pacy 25-year-old, an ex-England Under-20 international, has also featured for Notts County, Sheffield United and Walsall.
Moore, buoyed by the Cheltenham win which reduced the gap to safety to seven points, is plotting how best to set up against promotion chasing Shrewsbury, the first of back-to-back away trips with relegation rivals Tranmere Rovers to follow.
He added: “At Shrewsbury do we go 4-4-2 and go gung-ho or leave one or two out and go a different shape?
“I will have to sit down and decide that.”