RONNIE Moore is calling on Brad Walker to start fulfilling his potential at Hartlepool United.
The 18-year-old midfielder was singled out by Moore as one to watch, but he has called on him to do more for the side.
Moore watched from the stand at Burton Albion last weekend – before being appointed Pools’ third manager of the season – and he wants to see Walker give more support to the forwards.
The Billingham-born teen spent time training with England Under-18s last season and won the Young Player award but he has struggled to recreate those heights this term.
“The young lad Brad Walker did really last season,” said Moore.
“He is full of potential, but he has to produce that and not start thinking I can play for England or Real Madrid.
“I watched the game on Saturday and he played in the pocket – I could have played that game in the pocket.
“I will speak to him regarding that, if that is where he is going to play, because if you have Marlon Harewood playing up front then you need somebody running on beyond.
“We need to work on that, if we play that way.”
He added: “Very rarely will we play 4-5-1 at home but sometimes it depends on what opposition you are playing and you look at their systems and try to stifle them.”
Pools host Oxford United at Victoria Park tomorrow and Moore is looking for his players to play further up the pitch.
The former Tranmere Rovers and Rotherham United chief looked on in horror last weekend at the second-half collapse at Burton.
He admitted he was tempted to head to the dressing rooms afterwards and “throttle” a few of the players – even though he hadn’t been named boss yet.
Moore said: “The second-half at Burton was so disappointing.
“At the end I don’t know how I restrained myself from going in and having a go at them.
“I was sat there as if I was the manager – even though I wasn’t – and when they put four minutes up of added-on time I was thinking ‘oh no, we’re going to concede another goal here’.
“I wasn’t even involved in the club at that point but I had that gut feeling you get as a manager and wanted to throttle a few of them.
“They got deeper and deeper – they would have needed a snorkel at one point if they got any deeper – and when you do that you invite teams on that can play and they get the better of you.
“We need to stop that.”
Moore met his players for the first time on Wednesday afternoon and has spent the past two days pushing them hard on the training ground at Maiden Castle, in Durham.
He is waiting on fitness reports on former Sunderland midfielder Tommy Miller (calf) and Michael Duckworth (groin), while Stuart Parnaby remains out with a long-term knee injury.
Assistant manager Sam Collins (knee) is unlikely to feature.
The U’s, managed by Michael Appleton, will be without striker Tyrone Barnett after he was recalled to parent club Peterborough, so top scorer Danny Hylton is expected to continue.
Wes Burns is also set to return after being forced to sit out their 2-1 FA Cup defeat to Tranmere Rovers on Tuesday – a match Moore watched.
Hartlepool (probable): Flinders, Duckworth, Bates, Austin, Holden, Featherstone, Walker, Franks, Dolan, Harewood, Fenwick. Subs (from): Maxted, Richards, Jones, Woods, Miller, Ironside, Campbell, Compton, Schmeltz, Green.
Oxford (probable): Clarke, Riley, Mullins, Wright, Holmes-Dennis, Whing, Collins, Burns, Hylton, Howard, Rose. Subs: Meades, Potter, O’Dowda, Crocombe, Dunkley, Campbell.