‘Definitely a player we needed’ – Nicky Featherstone praises teammate who changed Hartlepool United's season
It has been a season to remember for Hartlepool United, but it hasn’t always been plain sailing.
Upon reflection, midfielder Nicky Featherstone admitted the side were lacking something as they went through an early season lull of one win in eight matches between October and December 2020. That something was a goal scorer.
The timely arrival of Luke Armstrong on loan from Salford City sprung Pools’ season back into action as the striker quickly got amongst the goals with a brace on his debut and formed a formidable strike partnership with Rhys Oates.
Armstrong has since scored 14 times for Pools this season as the side have won 19 and drawn seven of the 32 National League games they’ve played since his arrival.
That record sees Hartlepool boast the best points per game average (1.968 PPG) of any National League side since Armstrong’s arrival in December.
And Featherstone, who has started the vast majority of Pools’ matches this season, highlighted the striker’s arrival as a key turning point in the season.
“We’ve strengthened throughout the season which has definitely helped,” he told The Mail.
“Luke Armstrong was definitely a player we needed because if you look at the first 10 games without him we were still creating as many chances and putting loads of crosses into the box.
"For me one that stands out is the Wrexham home game where we lost 1-0 but we created pure chances. Altrincham at home, Bromley at home where we’ve created real chances but don’t put them in and drop points.
"Luke came in and all of a sudden he hits the ground running and those chances are going in. That’s what he does, he feeds off those deliveries and service.
“He made an immediate impact. King’s Lynn his debut he scored two goals and both within the six yard box, he’s that type of striker and we have got quality in our full-back areas where we like to get crosses in.
"[Jamie] Sterry and Fergie [David Ferguson] like to get forward, [Lewis] Cass gets forward from centre-half and we put a lot of dangerous balls in.
"Luke’s a finisher and that’s what he does.”