Nicky Featherstone: Barnet repeat can turn around Hartlepool’s fortunes

Nicky Featherstone in action against Leyton Orient. Picture: TOM BANKS
Nicky Featherstone in action against Leyton Orient. Picture: TOM BANKS

Four games without a win, and two points above the relegation spots, the last time Hartlepool United visited The Hive their League Two landscape looked very different.

Ninety minutes, two goals from Lewis Hawkins and one from Nathan Thomas later, and Pools, under new boss Craig Hignett, had kick-started their season.

That was a massive day for our season. We need to try and do the same again this time.

Nicky Featherstone

Seven months later, Pools head back to the place where their road to safety in 2015-16 began.

And while their plight is nowhere near as bad this time around, midfielder Nicky Featherstone, who was influential that day, believes a win in London tomorrow could be just what the doctor ordered for Pools season.

Reflecting back on March 5, Featherstone said: “We had a blow in that game if I remember rightly. We were 1-0 down early on.

“But we showed some character in that game, just like we need to this weekend.

“Two excellent goals from Hawkesy and one from Nath, as well as a solid debut from Rob Jones ended up helping us to victory.

“And if you look back at that game it was definitely the turning point of our season.

“After that we went on a run where we were solid. For the next six after that we didn’t lose.

“In the end, after the performance that day, we ended up being 14 or 15 points adrift of the teams that went down.

“At the time we went to Barnet we were right down there with them. That was a massive day for our season.”

Applying the same theory to this weekend, Featherstone, who only recently returned from a three game suspension, continued: “We need to try and do the same again this time.

“We have had a bad couple of weeks and if we beat Barnet it would make up for the points we dropped last week.

“They have had an extra game in the week so we can take confidence from that.”

Stating the obvious, Featherstone admits Pools have been nowhere near good enough in recent weeks.

The midfielder was absent from the side that were beaten by 10-man Carlisle at Brunton Park, but he played his part in last weekend’s 3-1 home loss to Leyton Orient, which made it 10 games without a win for Pools at the Northern Gas & Power Stadium.

While there has been plenty of finger pointing from the terraces over the last fortnight, it has not been that way in the Pools dressing-room. Instead, the honest bunch, have been opening up and taking responsibility.

“There was no finger pointing after Orient, but a few lads held their hands up, which was what was needed,” said Featherstone.

“The likes of Trev (Carson) held his hands up for the first. He was disappointed, but so did others, too.

“The whole team was disappointed.

“We were all to blame for the result, not just the individuals in the team.”

Play-off talk is something that never seems to go away.
Whether it is in chats with the manager or from within the dressing-room.

Featherstone has echoed that. And while all around him are doubting Pools’ credentials, Featherstone has never been more certain.

“If we want to be pushing on and getting in the play-offs we have to be going to Barnet and beating them.

I honestly think we have the quality to be a top seven side. We have proven that against the top teams.”