Hartlepool United must share goals around says Nicky Featherstone
Hartlepool United's players must share the goals around next season '“ even shot-shy Nicky Featherstone.
The midfielder stressed that if Pools are to challenge at the top end of League Two, more players must find the back of the net and can’t rely too heavily on leading scorer Billy Paynter.
Craig Hignett has made a start in that regard by signing another Nicky last week.
The Pools boss has made what he hopes as something of a transfer coup by snatching goal-scoring midfielder Nicky Deverdics on a free transfer from Dover.
Geordie boy Deverdics scored 16 goals for the Kent club last season and was rated by many pundits as the best player in his position in the fifth level of English football.
Featherstone said: “If we are looking to improve then it means the midfield and defence are probably going to need to score more.
“The midfield are going to have to create and contribute more and look to defenders to get goals from set-pieces.”
Paynter led the way for Pools with 15 in his debut campaign but the second top scorer was only six, a situation Pools must rectify.
But what about Featherstone?
The 27-year-old has a grand total of one career goal – a beauty (or so he claims) in Hereford’s 3-1 win at Torquay in February 2011.
Five years and the thick end of 150 appearances later, he still has not doubled his tally.
Remarkably, the former Hull City player admits to starting his footballing life as a striker before moving into midfield and settling, happily, into the holding role.
“I played up front, along time ago!” he laughed.
“The last time I was that far forward was in the youth team.
“I dropped into midfield many years back and I’ve pretty much played that deeper role throughout my professional career.”
There have been a few ‘what ifs’ for the Yorkshireman, who had three gilt-edged chances but converted none last season.
“It would be nice to get a goal and I’ve had the opportunity to make a few runs forward during the season,” he said.
“There was Exeter away when I was tripped for a penalty, Portsmouth away, and Mansfield at home when I took a bit too long and was fouled.
“But we got a penalty which Paynts put away.”