The best captains always think about their team-mates before themselves.
Billy Paynter is one such man.
Last Saturday stopped the rot and I felt we could have won the game – we had chances to.BILLY PAYNTER
Installed by Ronnie Moore as the Hartlepool United skipper following an outstanding pre-season on the field and off it, Paynter is looking to inspire the side back up the table.
The striker has led from the front so far – not just wearing the armband but backing it up with performances and four goals.
Paynter struck twice with headers in the first four days of the season, setting Pools on their way to a 2-0 victory over Morecambe and nodding home the winner at Fleetwood in the Capital One Cup.
And who could forget his stunning 18-yard equaliser at York which sparked a come-from-behind victory.
But Paynter is taking the captaincy seriously and his expertise too could prove crucial , especially given he’s the focal point of a frontline where experience is in short supply.
Rhys Oates has been exciting down the right side, but remains raw, while Rakish Bingham, who has pace to burn, is still only 21.
Bingham and Oates have less than 50 Football League appearances between them.
“Oatesy has come in from Barnsley, settled in and has done really well,” said Paynter.
“He’s come on in leaps and bounds, he’s got a few starts in the team now and his confidence his grown.
“Bings just needs a goal – I think he’s putting pressure on himself.
“I’ve talked to him and told him not to worry.
“I think he’s in a situation where he thinks ‘I’ve got to put this away’.
“If he was scoring goals, he wouldn’t even think about it, he’d just stick them away.”
As well as the advice off the park, his attitude is spot on every Saturday and Tuesday.
The 31-year-old looks the consummate team-player and has set up chances for his colleagues this season, as well as finding the net himself.
“I like to link up and bring other players into the game, I don’t mind taking the brunt of the knocks,” he smiled.
After appearing troubled by hamstring trouble against Carlisle and then coming off at Wycombe, Paynter was given a breather at Exeter City.
The break seemed to do him the power of good as he came back well against Cambridge United at The Vic last week.
He looked more mobile and even made a goal out of nothing when he used his strength to power into the away box, only for keeper Chris Dunn to make a smart save on the deck.
Paynter told SportMail that there are no worries over his hamstring.
“In certain things it did affect me, whether I was trying to open up or checking my runs,” he said.
“There was a doubt in my mind that might tear it.
“I had been fine until just before-half-time at Wycombe.
“It was when I pounced on a mistake and once I hit the post I just felt it as my stride shortened.
“There was no tear, it was more nerve damage.
“I rested it the week after and did not make the trip to Exeter and I do feel all right now.”
The goalless draw against Cambridge ended a run of four straight League Two defeats.
After the bright start to the season – three successive League Two wins – Pools started to slide down the table.
But skipper Paynter says the squad are determined to start to climb back up the league.
“It’s still early days,” explained the much-travelled forward who will skipper the side at Yeovil tomorrow.
“We were may be losing games we could have won but it’s only us who can put that right.
“It’s about us putting the work in on the training field.
“May be with the wins we had you can possibly get too confident while a loss knocks the confidence.
“But last Saturday stopped the rot and I felt we could have won the game – we had chances to.
“We know Yeovil will be another tough game for us tomorrow.
“But we will make sure we prepare well and carry on from how we played against Cambridge.”