JAMES Poole was backed to become Altrincham's latest crowd-pleaser after taking the eye in their first home pre-season friendly against a strong Stockport County side at The J.Davidson Stadium on Tuesday night.

Though he could not prevent a 2-1 defeat, the attacking midfielder's silky skills repeatedly troubled the Stockport defence, as Alty turned on the style and scored the goal of the night, following a flowing move finished off by Josh Hancock.

Reflecting on the former Salford City forward's crowd-pleasing qualities, manager Phil Parkinson said: "That is why we signed James.

"He is going to be a huge player for us. He is a player who always excited me whenever I was up against him.

"In fact, he upset me a lot of the time, because he always did so well against me and looked a top player.

"He is not someone who is going to scrap around. He will put his foot in, but first and foremost he is a footballer who is going to be creative and score goals, hopefully lots of winning ones.

"He's a fantastic player, and Altrincham are very lucky to have him."

Parkinson's plans for a settled strikeforce have been disrupted by an unforeseen change in Sefton Gonzales' work arrangements that has forced his departure.

"Sefton will be leaving the club, because circumstances have changed for him, with regard to his work situation," said the Alty boss.

"It's extremely unfortunate, because he is what I invested in as a centre-forward, and I'm now having to look for another.

"Josh Amis came in, and there will be further discussions with him, and another centre-forward is coming in who is of a very high calibre from a higher level.

"Decisions then have to be made, because we have to get that position right.

"It is unfortunate that having brought in three centre-forwards we haven't been able to use any of them yet, but Tom Peers may be back from holiday in time for Saturday and Tolani Omotola isn't far away after a hamstring injury."