Rhys Oates hasn’t come to Hartlepool United to make up the numbers – he is targeting a first team place from day one.
The confident 20-year-old became Ronnie Moore’s second summer signing after joining on a free following his release from Barnsley, the club he had been with since the age of six.
And he is looking to make an immediate impact at Pools, having turned down interest from other clubs.
Oates has revealed it was the inspiring vision of manager Moore that convinced him to move to the North East and follow in the footsteps of Rakish Bingham, who joined after being released from Mansfield.
The duo will now be battling it out with last season’s top league scorer Scott Fenwick for a starting spot.
That doesn’t faze Oates though, who has limited first team experience, as he looks to repay the manager’s faith when the players reconvene for pre-season training at the end of June.
Oates said: “I see myself challenging for a first team spot at Pools from day one.
“That is what I am aiming for – to come in, be as fit as I possibly can be and look to make an impression in pre-season.
“I want to show Ronnie Moore that I am a willing player and a good option for him in the team.
“I am excited for the challenge ahead and want to push my way into the first team.”
Moore moved quickly to secure the services of 6ft 2” Oates, who left League One side Barnsley at the end of last season after 14 years at the club.
And the striker admitted he was pleased to get his future sorted out so quickly.
“A few days after I got released Pools got in touch, when I was looking around to see what other options were available,” revealed Oates.
“There were a few teams interested but I chose Hartlepool.
“I spoke to Ronnie Moore and he sold me the club and his plans for the future.
“It was a bit out of the blue because I have never met him before.
“But I found him very inspiring to talk to.”
Oates made his first team debut for The Tykes last August but has also gained senior experience with loan spells at Conference North side Gainsborough Trinity, where he scored twice in five games, and Stockport County in the 2013-14 season.
Oates had further loans spells at Grimsby Town and Chester last term, where he netted twice in seven matches but didn’t manage to register a goal for Barnsley in nine appearances.