PETER Hartley drew on a piece of advice from a junior football coach during his pre-Christmas slump in form.
The Hartlepool-born centre-back had been handed the captaincy in October by former boss Neale Cooper, but his own performance dipped in the wake of that reward.
Now, however, having retained the armband under John Hughes, Hartley is the first name on the Scot’s team-sheet and has even chipped in with two goals in the recent home wins over Notts County and Leyton Orient.
But Hartley – who will lead the team out at Scunthorpe United tomorrow – says it was the words of wisdom from an old mentor [Neil Bailey] which helped him through his rocky patch.
“I admit I wasn’t playing well and neither was the team, we were suffering,” the 24-year-old told SportMail.
“An old coach of mine, Neil Bailey, told me something when I was going through a hard time in terms of my own game – ‘if you keep working as hard as you’ve always worked then it will get as easy as it’s ever been’.
“Even when I was having a bad time I was working hard, trying to turn it around.
“That’s the best thing I have ever kept in my mind.
“It helps so much because when it does improve and your confidence is back then you know you’ve worked hard to get there.
“I feel good now and I hope it’s showing, the team has picked up and we’re doing ourselves and the club justice, we weren’t doing that earlier in the season.”
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