STEPHEN Wright looks to have nailed down a Hartlepool United starting jersey – with manager Mick Wadsworth hailing the defender’s “ruthless” nature.
The 31-year-old has started the last two at the heart of the backline in the absence of injured skipper Sam Collins.
And Wright has made a pretty convincing case for retaining his place in the side with a pair of pugnacious performances.
In that time Pools have conceded just once – from the penalty spot – and Saturday’s clean sheet in the 2-0 win at Scunthorpe United was their first since mid-September.
Wadsworth admitted in the wake of that game that Collins, who is edging closer to a return following a calf strain, would find it difficult to force his way back into the starting line-up.
And the Pools boss has been impressed with the gritty character shown by Wright in recent matches.
“You’ve got to be ruthless and tough and I think Stephen has that in abundance,” Wadsworth told SportMail.
“I like nasty within the rules of the game but not beyond that I must say.
“Stephen has that bite and character but so, too, do the likes of Sam, Paul Murray and Neil Austin and it’s important to have that when you’re going through a difficult patch.
“He’s played very well these past couple of matches but then I thought he did well at full-back at Leyton Orient as well.
“He’s a guy who is desperate to play football and that’s always fantastic to see, especially in a player who has had a long career, and you can see he’s enjoying it right now.
“Hopefully Sam will be back for the weekend but he might have to be patient because we did very well defensively at Scunthorpe.”
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