Former Sunderland youngster Luke Molyneux has enjoyed a bright start to the League Two season in new role for Hartlepool United
After Hartlepool United earned promotion back to the Football League in June not many would have imagined Luke Molyneux would be one of the club’s stand out performers this season.
The former Sunderland wide man was linked with a move away from Victoria Park in the summer after struggling to really cement a spot in Dave Challinor’s wing-back based system.
While Molyneux featured 28 times across Pools’ National League promotion winning campaign, the 23-year-old scored just two goals with his flair and guile to cut in from the right often overlooked in favour of a marauding fullback like Jamie Sterry.
It was a frustrating time for Molyneux with boss Challinor adamant he would not alter his system to suit the forward, rather he would have to adapt his game to fit into Challinor’s plans.
But after a turbulent summer as Pools searched high and low for reinforcements at the top end of the pitch following the departures of last season’s top goalscorers Luke Armstrong and Rhys Oates, Molyneux has come into his own in League Two and become a key player for Challinor’s side.
Molyneux has featured in all but one of Pools’ games this season, after a slight knock kept him out of the recent trip to Salford City, and has already eclipsed last year's goal tally as he continues to relish his opportunity in a new role up front.
Speaking to The Mail Molyneux said: “I've been enjoying playing up top this season and I've been getting more chances and some goals which is the main thing. It's a lot more football based [in League Two].
“In the National League it was a lot more physical and not as much football got played, the ball was in the air a lot more. I think this league suits us a lot more and it's more enjoyable to watch.
“It suits me too because I don't want to be heading the ball all the time and as long as the ball is on the floor I'm happy. We're doing well at the moment and I think we can keep building on that.”
Molyneux is into his third season at Victoria Park after turning his loan from Sunderland into a permanent deal in 2019.
And his performances have earned him praise from both the stands and the dugout this season, something which spurs the 23-year-old on.
“It gives me a lot of confidence,” he said.
“I'm a confident player anyway but to have faith from the manager is a big thing. I just need to keep taking that out on the pitch and keep getting the goals and assists.
“I think you've got to put targets in front of you. There's no point thinking, I've got three already, I've done well, you've got to aim as high as you can and I know I've got the capabilities to do that.”
He added: “It's unbelievable to play at Victoria Park at the moment, everyone knows how hard it is to come here and play in front of our fans.
“We're unbeaten at home and it's all because of the fans, they're massive for us and they give us the boost needed to get through games.”