Newell backs ex-Luton striker Howard on his return to Hartlepool

FORMER Town striker Steve Howard returned to Hartlepool United this week with ex-Luton boss Mike Newell backing his return to the Pools after 13 years away from Victoria Park.

Friday, 13th July 2012, 6:00 pm

Newell, who also managed Hartlepool, had Howard at Luton Town for three years and likened the 36-year-old to Alan Shearer, insisting the striker will have a huge influence both on and off the pitch.

“This is an excellent signing,” the 47-year-old said. “He’s a good, old fashioned centre forward.

“I played with Alan Shearer and he’s in that exact same mould.

“He has the same strength and finishing power, but also the same character.

“They are both hard, north-east lads – Steve is a real man’s man and someone I loved the company of away from football.

“You rely on that sort of character to run your dressing room.

“He’s just a proper person and a proper footballer. I think he’ll be a magnificent signing and I’m delighted for him and Pools.”

Howard, 36, was released by Leicester City this summer and is the League One club’s third signing of the close season.

During five campaigns at Kenilworth Road he secured two promotions scoring 96 goals in 212 appearances before being sold to Derby County for £1million.

On Howard, who made 23 appearances for the Foxes last season, Newell added: “I have always said that Howie will score goals in whatever division he plays in.

“He’s a big, powerful lad, yes, but he also has an eye for goal and will create as many as he scores.

“If he’d had a little bit more pace then I believe he could have played in the Premier League for a long time.

“But when I had him at Luton he was a dream to have in your team.

“You just couldn’t afford to take him off and, as a manager, you could rely on him and that’s exactly what you want.

“He plays a lot of games and is never injured.

“He knows how to look after himself on the pitch and he’ll also look after others – he’s the sort of guy you want on your side.

“So I wish him all the best at Pools and I think he will really make a difference for them this season.”

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