Scott Loach discusses the career milestone he'd love to hit at Hartlepool United
Scott Loach has set his sights on playing 500 games in his career - and he hopes to get many more under his belt at Hartlepool United.
The goalkeeper has 344 appearances to his name as a professional at 12 different clubs across all four Football League divisions and the National League.
At 30, Loach says he’s far from finished yet. And with 64 games played for Pools already, Loach, out of contract at the end of the season, hopes he can edge closer to his half century while at the Super 6 Stadium.
“I believe in my ability. And I have my own target - I want to play 500 games,” said the former Watford, Ipswich and Peterborough keeper.
“You can’t beat playing. I’m loving life at Pools and I want to stay for another two years.”
Loach may well be content with life in the North East but he knows he’s got a battle on his hands to remain Pools No.1.
“I know we have a very good keeper here ready to step in if I let my performances slip,” said Loach of deputy Ryan Catterick, who was on the bench for the weekend win over Kidsgrove in the FA Cup.
“I am going through a bit of a renaissance. Playing week-in, week-out is the main thing on that front.”
Coach Ross Turnbull - a Champions League winner with Chelsea - has also been a big factor, breathing new life into Loach.
So much so the keeper not only believes he could operate in League Two again - he hopes with Hartlepool next season - but even further up the Football League food chain.
“It’s fair to say I am going through a bit of a renaissance,” said Loach.
“I think I could go and play for Middlesbrough tomorrow - but it is about consistency.
“Any keeper can get thrown in and do a job short-term, adrenaline gets you through. But after five games fans and teammates are asking ‘right, what can you do now?’
“As a goalkeeper you need to do it for two or three years, not just six months.
“I love it here at Hartlepool. It would be silly of me if I said I did not want to play higher. But when I look at the league above there aren’t really any teams I see that are bigger than Pools.”
In his career Loach has gone from England squads under Fabio Capello and the verge of the Premier League at Watford to the fifth tier with Pools.
He admits he’s made mistakes along the way, but wouldn’t change where he is at for the world.
“Since those days I have learned a lot,” said the Pools No 1.
“I feel I am a much better keeper now than I was back then. But I have made mistakes along the way. It has not been plain sailing.
“It was time to move on from Watford and things didn’t work out at Ipswich. Then I went to Rotherham when I should have taken a step back. I wanted to continue in the Championship, but at 24 I was naive.
“I then went to Bury and had the worst time of my life. I wasn’t good enough. I had three games and I made a mistake in all three. Sometimes this game can be cruel like that, especially for goalkeepers.
“When Notts County came in I thought they’d be the only chance I’d get to continue as a goalkeeper in the Football League and so close to home.
“That’s my journey and everyone is where they are for a reason. I am here because I deserve to be - that’s the same with the rest of the squad.”