Hartlepool United striker Mark Cullen opens up about Port Vale departure following 'frustrating' spell

Mark Cullen has reflected on a ‘frustrating’ two seasons at Port Vale that led to him being released and joining Hartlepool United this summer.

Thursday, 19th August 2021, 4:45 pm

The striker arrived at Port Vale from then League One side Blackpool in 2019 looking to put his injury troubles at Bloomfield Road behind him.

But Cullen found first team opportunities difficult to come by at Vale Park during his first season despite boasting a solid record of eight goals in 11 starts in all competitions.

His 2020-21 campaign would prove even more frustrating as various injuries limited the striker to just 10 starts with his only two goals coming on the opening day of the League Two campaign against Crawley Town.

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Paul Coutts of Salford is tackled by Mark Cullen of Port Vale during the Sky Bet League Two match between Salford City and Port Vale at Moor Lane on March 02, 2021 in Salford, England. (Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images)

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Cullen was then released by Darrell Clarke at the end of the season, paving the way for his free transfer to Pools.

“It was frustrating at Port Vale really,” Cullen admitted. “I didn’t play as much as I wanted which is why I didn’t get a new contract at the end of the season really."

But Cullen isn’t going to let a tough few seasons deter him from making an impact with Pools despite a slightly disjointed start.

“It’s part of football and it’s all about how you bounce back and I’m looking to do that here and have a successful time,” he added.

“I’ve been around long enough and knew it was coming anyway so it wasn’t a shock.

"It’s not an easy situation to be in, especially at this level where you’ve got bills to pay, families to provide for and you’re not earning millions of pounds.

"To be told you’re out of a job and you have to try and find a new one is tough and it can be panicking but there are that many players out of contract at the moment and it’s not an easy position to be in.”

Cullen is still waiting to make his full competitive debut for Hartlepool after a hamstring injury and illness have limited him to just two substitute appearances so far.

But with Dave Challinor’s side set to host Walsall this Saturday (3pm kick-off), Cullen is in contention to be part of the matchday squad as he looks to get his career at Victoria Park up and running.

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