Cheltenham 2 Hartlepool 1

Hartlepool United proved there’s more attacking talent to the team than the 19-year-old prospect Luke James

Action Images / Peter Cziborra Jack Baldwin of Hartlepool United
Jack Baldwin of Hartlepool United

After more speculation about the future of striker Luke James, Hartlepool United proved there’s more attacking talent to the team than the 19-year-old prospect.

The list of scouts watching James grows by the week, but he was taken out of the firing line for a well-deserved rest as boss Colin Cooper looked at his alternatives.

James, who gives nothing less than 100% in a lone striker’s role week in, week out, watched on as his replacement scored twice.

Pool were two goals down at Cheltenham before a Jon Franks double earned a point and stopped a run of three away defeats in a row.

James could be back for tomorrow’s FA Cup replay against Coventry, but that would be harsh on Franks.

A rest could do James good ahead of the run of games to come in the next few weeks.

Cooper said: “Franksy had his share of chances.

“Luke has been terrific and he might not thank me for leaving him out, but Franksy has been desperate for a chance up front.

“We’ve used him in a few different positions, he’s wanted to be there.

“We gave him a chance at Torquay and changed after ten minutes or so. He can shoot off both feet and has pace.’’

Pool were behind on four minutes - a mix-up between goalkeeper Scott Flinders and Neil Austin saw the ball roll through for striker Jermaine McGlashan to knock into an empty net.

As soon as they went two goals down, a flicked header from Kemar Roofe, Pool dropped their 3-5-2 in favour of a more regimented and preferred 4-4-2 set-up.

While they had created first-half chances to keep themselves in the game – Franks and Andy Monkhouse both denied by keeper Scott Brown – they were off the pace overall.

Franks’ first came from a giant Flinders kick which was left by defence and goalkeeper, allowing him to nip in and finish neatly.

His second was a more measured affair, curling his shot in via a post.

He even had a chance to win it late on, but rolled a low finish past the post when played in cleverly by Monkhouse.

CHELTENHAM TOWN: Brown; Jombati, Brown, Elliott, Braham-Barrett; Taylor, Noble, Richards (Cureton 83), Harrison; McGlashan, Roofe (Penn 46).

Subs (not used): Deering, Gornell, Roberts (gk), Goldson, Ajala.

Goals: McGlashan 4, Roofe 37

HARTLEPOOL UNITED: Flinders; Austin, Burgess, Baldwin; Duckworth, Dolan, Sweeney (James 65), Walton, Holden (Compton 46); Monkhouse, Franks. Subs: Collins, Rafferty, Rodney, Walker, James.

Goals: Franks 57, 70 Booked: Monkhouse (foul)

Attendance: 2,941

Referee: Steve Rushton (Stoke).

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