Ronnie Moore has hailed his new captain and “leader” Billy Paynter - and says he welcomes strong opinions in the Hartlepool United dressing room.
The 31-year-old striker was handed the armband after the Pools boss finally settled on the identity of his new captain.
I’ve had options, but it’s common sense really.Ronnie Moore
In the end, Moore said it came down to “common sense” - with Paynter the most experienced player in his new-look squad.
The former Swindon Town, Doncaster Rovers and Carlisle United frontman has impressed Moore on the training ground during pre-season and will start alongside Rakish Bingham.
“Billy is captain and it’s a decision I’ve tossed and turned with for three weeks now,” reflected Moore, ahead of today’s opening match at home to Morecambe.
“I’ve had options, but it’s common sense really.
“He’s a leader but had a rough time of it at his old club, though it is not for me to say what went on.
“He’s come here and been fantastic, won all his running and races in pre-season.
“Billy is a leader, he has always got something to say and he will lead by example on the pitch in terms of how many defenders he knocks about, how he links up and how many he sets up.
“He didn’t deserve what happened to him at Carlisle but you do have fallouts in football.
“I have known Billy a long time and Sam [Collins] knows him really well and he has bedded in like he has been here a long time.
“He is not afraid of having an opinion, which is what I like.”
Paynter beat off competition from the likes of Michael Woods and Scott Harrison, who had both worn the armband during pre-season.
Earlier this week, straight talking Paynter spoke of his pride after being named captain.
And Moore - who wants his players to voice their opinions - will look to him to ensure there remains a strong bond in the Hartlepool dressing room over the course of the 46-game League Two campaign.
“If you’re not happy with the system or other players not doing what they are supposed to be doing, then say it - we are all over 21,” added Moore.
“I don’t have all the answers and someone in that dressing room may have an idea and if it makes us better than great.
“It is not like I am the boss and whatever I say goes, I have always worked with good pros who are not afraid to say what they want to say.
“Don’t go sniggling in your little groups because once you get that, you get a cancer in the group and then you are in trouble.
“You need to be honest and man up.
“There is no deadwood in there, no-one who can hurt us.
“I have said to Billy you are the captain and you need to make sure it is right, if not then we need to do something about it.”
* Hartlepool United have officially launched their new away kit.
Pools fans can buy the new bright Nike Volt away shirt from 10am today at Victoria Park, ahead of the first home game of the season against Morecambe (KO 3pm).