Ex-Carlisle United striker Mark Cullen opens up on his start to life at Hartlepool United after brace helped Pools to win at Bradford City win

Hartlepool United striker Mark Cullen admits it’s been a frustrating start to life at Victoria Park but is hoping his match winning contribution in midweek can be the start of a successful season for both himself and the club.

Friday, 22nd October 2021, 3:19 pm

Cullen made his first start for Dave Challinor’s side in Tuesday’s success over Bradford City scoring twice to help Pools to their first away win of the season.

The 29-year-old has had to remain patient since arriving from Port Vale after picking up a knock which ruled him out of Pools’ shortened pre-season campaign.

But the former Carlisle United man says he is ready for whenever boss Challinor calls upon him ahead of Saturday’s meeting with Harrogate Town.

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Mark Cullen made his first start for Hartlepool in midweek (Credit: Will Matthews | MI News)

“It’s been frustrating from a personal point of view because you want to play football matches and try and help out,” said Cullen.

“It’s frustrating but you just carry on training and wait for that opportunity to come, luckily it came for me on Tuesday night and I got a couple of goals.

“I was buzzing. I got home and you always struggle to sleep after night games, but coming away with two goals was class. It’s just a great feeling, there’s nothing I like better.”

Cullen added: “The only way you can get match fitness and match sharpness is by playing matches.

Mark Cullen opened his Hartlepool United account in the win over Bradford City (Credit: Will Matthews | MI News)

“I’ve been training hard but I can understand why I’ve not played a lot. But I'm fit and well and able. I just want to play.

“It was a short pre-season, I think I only missed two weeks but in those two weeks I missed all the games so that really set me back. It’s not easy when you miss pre-season but you have to get on with it.

“It’s up to the gaffer if and when he wants to play me and that’s fine, I’ll be ready whenever called upon.”

Cullen , who enjoyed his most profitable spells in front of goal with Luton Town and Blackpool, grabbed a taste of what it’s like to score in front of Pools’ travelling contingent at Valley Parade but he admits he can’t wait to find the back of the net in front of the Victoria Park faithful.

“It was a brilliant thing for me personally [to get off the mark]. I know I can score goals in this team now.

“You saw on Tuesday night I enjoyed it, so to get one at home in front of the fans would be nice and I'm sure it’ll come sometime.”

And Cullen believes he has joined a squad who can go on to have a successful season this year, particularly after putting to bed their away day blues against Bradford in midweek.

“It doesn't matter what it is, it builds up and builds up so to finally get that monkey off your back it is a relief,” he said.

“It’s a very good squad, with some good characters and a good blend of younger lads and older lads.

“I said when I first came through the door that League Two is not a league to be scared of in any way.

“Anyone can beat anyone and I don’t see why we can’t have a successful season if we carry on the way we are.”

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