Hartlepool United defender David Ferguson hails Mani Dieseruvwe as "one of the nicest guys you could ever hope to meet"

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Hartlepool United defender David Ferguson feels his friendship with Mani Dieseruvwe is the secret to their productive relationship on the pitch.

Ferguson, who signed a new contract to keep him at the Suit Direct Stadium for a fifth season earlier this month, endured a testing campaign but still managed to strike up an impressive partnership with the Pools talisman.

Since arriving in the summer of 2020, the full-back has established himself as a reliable defender as well as a threat going forward and was the one Pools player to feature in the National League team of the season in 2021 following promotion back to the Football League under Dave Challinor.

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After a strong first season in League Two - both for Ferguson and Pools, who reached the semi-finals of the EFL Trophy and travelled to Premier League Crystal Palace in the fourth round of the FA Cup - things have taken a turn for the worse, with relegation followed by an indifferent return to the fifth tier.

The defender, who is just seven games away from bringing up 200 Pools appearances, revealed he has a good relationship with Dieseruvwe off the pitch as well as on it.The defender, who is just seven games away from bringing up 200 Pools appearances, revealed he has a good relationship with Dieseruvwe off the pitch as well as on it.
The defender, who is just seven games away from bringing up 200 Pools appearances, revealed he has a good relationship with Dieseruvwe off the pitch as well as on it.

For Ferguson in particular, last term was full of challenges, with the usually dependable defender struggling for form after being asked to play in a number of different positions and alongside a host of different partners.

The 29-year-old, who had been appointed captain in the summer, had the armband taken off him under caretaker Lennie Lawrence and, after missing a decisive penalty in an FA Trophy shootout defeat to National League South side Hampton and Richmond Borough, Ferguson began to rediscover his best form.

One man who had no such issues was, of course, Mani Dieseruvwe, who enjoyed the most prolific campaign of his career by some distance, finishing the season with 25 goals in all competitions.

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A number of the former Halifax frontman's strikes came courtesy of an assist from Ferguson, with the pair striking up a useful partnership.

Supporters will be hoping the two can combine to even great effect next season, providing Pools can keep hold of Dieseruvwe.

And Ferguson, who almost always provides Pools with an attacking outlet down the left, thinks a good relationship off the pitch is key to the pair's success on it.

"I love Mani," he told BBC Radio Tees Sport.

"We have good banter, he's funny. We get on well off the pitch.

"He's one of the nicest guys you could ever hope to meet.

"We get on so well, we have a lot of time for each other.

"If I can contribute or help him, then fantastic. I'm happy for him."

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