Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Pool Take Gamble on Midfielder Joe; Turner Seals First Deal of the New Year

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Pool Take Gamble on Midfielder Joe; Turner Seals First Deal of the New Year

Article excerpt

Byline: Stuart Rayner

CHRIS Turner's overhaul of his Hartlepool United squad took another step yesterday with the signing of midfielder Joe Gamble.

The twice-capped 27-year-old Republic of Ireland international was fortunate enough to spend a week on trial with the League One club last month before the cold snap made training on Maiden Castle's grass pitches virtually impossible. And Gamble impressed enough to earn a contract.

Gamble is the Teessiders' first signing of the January transfer window, and director of sport Turner was noncommittal over whether it will be their last.

Even if it is, though, it continues a period of dramatic change at Victoria Park.

"That's 13 new players we've brought in during the last six months," the former Sunderland goalkeeper reflected. "We will look again in the summer and see where we can kick on from there. That's our goal.

"Sometimes we have little setbacks, and there are periods of progress, but overall I think we're moving in the right direction.

"If something else becomes available, we'll look at it. We've got seven players out injured at the moment, which shows how much progress we're making.

"If we'd had that many players missing last year we'd have had serious problems."

Gamble first came to the Teessiders' attention in the summer, when they were scouting his Cork City team-mates Denis Behan and Colin Healy.

Striker Behan joined the club, whereas former Sunderland midfielder Healy opted to go to Ipswich Town instead.

He could yet find his way to Hartlepool, however, with Roy Keane prepared to let the 29-year-old leave on loan.

Like Behan, this is Gamble's second spell in English football. In keeping with a number of his compatriots, he tried his hand this side of the Irish Sea but returned after failing to make much impact.

The combative midfielder was at Reading from 2001-2004 before rejoining Cork. In 2006 he was shortlisted for the league's player of the year award, and his form earned the B and under-21 international a first full call-up against Chile, where he was an unused substitute. …

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