Change has freshened up Hartlepool United's dressing room - Nicky Featherstone
Nicky Featherstone has urged everyone to stick together in Hartlepool United's hour of need.
The midfielder is set to start this evening, when Pools take on Aldershot for the rearranged National League clash which fell victim to the weather at the weekend.
And Featherstone is hoping for a United front at the EBB Stadium tonight.
“It is at times like this where we all need to stick together,” said Featherstone.
“The players, the coaches, the fans - we all need to be united if we are to come out of this where we want to be.
“We are fighting to stay in the division. We need everyone to be pulling in the same direction.
“We know it is not going to be easy to stay up, but we have the belief that we can start winning games again.
“Our run has gone on too long. We need to start doing our jobs. Wins are essential if we are to keep this great football club in this division.
“It is easy to say we must start winning games but it is the players’ job to do it.”
Featherstone has spent nearly four years at Victoria Park, and he knows just what this club means to the town and its supporters.
When asked about the last 12 months, he says he still cannot believe Pools have slumped to their current position.
But whatever happens off the field, he knows the players can lighten the mood around the Vic with some wins.
“We cannot affect what goes on off the pitch, but we can definitely do that on it,” said Featherstone about recent events at Pools.
“There are rumours every day around the dressing room and to me that has had an impact.
“I am the type of person who just gets on with things but there are lads who have struggled with the thought of not getting paid and the club potentially going into administration or worse.
“It has not been easy but we all know the job we have to do. It is simple for us, more simple than for the people who run the club. We just need to string together a run of results, although that is something we have not done for some time.”
One thing former Walsall and Hereford man Featherstone has noticed, is that the mood around the camp has changed.
All of a sudden, according to the 29-year-old, there is a brighter feel to the dressing room at Pools.
“Something has changed,” said Featherstone.
“I really do not want to be critical of the previous manager [Craig Harrison].
“Things were good under him, he never lost the dressing room. He was such a nice bloke. A good manager to work under.
“But I think things have felt a bit fresher lately.
“It might just be what we needed.
“Batesy has come in and brought one or two new coaches to training. And with that there are a few new voices and a few new ideas.
“That can be no bad thing when a team is struggling.
“Hopefully we can use this change and make it a positive. But the only way we can do that is by winning some games.”
Featherstone joined Pools when they were in League Two.
He joined a Pools with ambitions to get into League One. He currently occupies a slot in a side who are one of the worst in the fifth tier. The facts do not lie.
“It makes me sad to see this club in the state that it is,” said Featherstone.
“You look at what this club is, the fanbase, the history, the infrastructure and this should not be happening.
“When I joined this club was set up to go higher. Now we are fighting to prevent it going lower than it ever has before. We are not proud of what is happening.
“Too many managers have struggled when they come to this football club - I do not know why and I do not know what the answers are.
“But what I do know is this should not happen to a club of this stature.
“It’s sad but it is the reality and the fans do not deserve to suffer like they have done.”
An even more stark reality is that Pools may not even exist, if a buyer is not found.
This is something Featherstone cannot comprehend.
“This club going bust is unimaginable,” he said.
“We think about our own futures as players but what about the fans? People who love this club would have nothing left to support.
“Everyone associated with Hartlepool United must fight to make sure that doesn’t happen. This club is too important.”