Hartlepool's latest signing Steve Howard is ready to repay his debt to the club for helping launch his career 17 years ago.

The 36-year-old striker, who started out as a trainee at Victoria Park in 1995, became manager Neale Cooper's third summer signing after completing his move on Wednesday following his release from Leicester.

"I spoke to Neale and he really sold his ideas for the club to me," Howard told the club's official website. "He's a really bubbly character and you can tell straight away that he's a motivator and that enthusiasm got me excited."

He added: "In the end it was an easy decision for me to make and it's great to be back because if it wasn't for Hartlepool United I wouldn't have enjoyed the career I have had.

"It's brilliant that I can come back and repay that debt and try to help the club progress. I can't wait to get that shirt on, get some regular football and start banging in the goals."

Howard, who has scored 10 goals in as many games against Pools since leaving them in 1999, has scored 185 in 653 league appearances during his career.