Hartlepool Utd’s Walton to face Preston North End after the ‘kick up the backside’ he needed

Simon Walton scoring his penalty in front of the travelling Pools support. Picture by FRANK REID
Simon Walton scoring his penalty in front of the travelling Pools support. Picture by FRANK REID
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SIMON Walton admits he has had the “kick up the backside” he needed – but now insists he is back in the team for good.

The 25-year-old was dropped just three matches in to his Pools career after a start to the season he concedes was far from the personal standards he sets himself.

That drew criticism from manager Neale Cooper who publicly questioned the contribution and fitness of his summer acquisition.

But Walton was recalled for the weekend trip to Bournemouth and responded with a resolute display and well-taken penalty in the 1-1 draw.

The former Plymouth midfielder will keep his place for tonight’s League One clash at Preston North End, and says he had no problem with his gaffer’s dressing down.

“It’s obviously been frustrating so far from a personal point of view,” he told SportMail ahead of this evening’s trip to Deepdale.

“I haven’t been happy with my performance and the management weren’t happy either, which is fair enough.

“The gaffer wasn’t pleased, as everybody has heard, but he did what a gaffer does and hopefully that’s worked. That was a bit of a kick up the backside.”

And Walton went on: “I set my own standards and when I came here on the first day I said that I don’t settle for mediocrity.”