Playing at Victoria Park might not be every footballer’s idea of living the dream.
But for Adam Bartlett it’s not far off the truth.
Keeping clean sheets is what the gaffer’s looking for this seasonADAM BARTLETT
The keeper went from the depressing situation of losing two jobs in the matter of weeks to returning to the Football League with Hartlepool United.
And what a start for the 29-year-old at the Vic.
After expecting to be providing the back up to big summer signing Trevor Carson, Bartlett has found himself thrust into the starting spot.
A toe injury to the Northern Ireland international has meant Bartlett has been between the sticks for the first two games – and will remain there for at least the remainder of August.
The Geordie began with a clean sheet in a 2-0 League Two win over Morecambe and better was to follow on Tuesday night, when he made some brilliant saves in a 1-0 Capital One Cup upset at Fleetwood Town.
“Trevor was unlucky to be injured just before the season with a broken toe,” said the former Newcastle United product.
“He’s going to be out for a few weeks yet so I have a chance to establish myself in the team.
“I knew Trevor was going to start the season as number one but I was looking to push him and step in where needed.
“This is is one of those occasions, he’s injured and I’ve had a little bit of luck through that, not that I wish anything bad on Trevor.
“But I’ve been able to step up to the plate so far and put in two solid performances.
“It’s been the perfect start, I suppose, for me – two clean sheets and two wins and us looking solid as a team.
“Keeping clean sheets is what the gaffer’s looking for this season. To win you have to be solid at the back at keep them clean sheets so to start with two out of two games is really pleasing.”
Bartlett had spent three seasons at Gateshead, playing a major role in the club’s resurgence, including a trip to Wembley in the Conference play-off final.
He was rated as one of the best keepers in the fifth tier of English football, but after telling Heed of his desire to take up a coaching position at the Newcastle United Academy, the club dispensed with his services.
“I had problems over the summer because potentially there was a job at Newcastle, which would have been unbelievablefor a 29-year-old to get,” he explained.
“That did not work out for one reason or another.
“But I had made Gateshead aware that if the job at Newcastle was there, that’s what I wanted to do.
“In the end, the new owners and manager came in (at Gateshead) and they did not even contact me.
“It was a shame, but I have nothing againast the club, I had a great three years there.
“Then Hartlepool asked about me. I knew (goalkeeping coach) Tony Caig from Newcastle – he tried to take me to Carlisle last year when he was over there on the back of the play-off final at Wembley with Gateshead.
“He rang up and said did I want to come here and train, get a feel of the place and obviously give Ronnie Moore the chance to have a look at me.
“I snapped his hand off, it was just a great opportunity.”
He came, he saw and so far he has conquered two highly-vaunted sides.
Tomorrow, he plans to stand in the way of York City and he’s excited about his second appearance at the Vic, against Newport County on Tuesday night.
To say he loved his debut would be an understatement.
“Last Saturday was special – coming out at the start, the great atmosphere, the occasion, the fans, getting the win, everything,” he said.
“It was great to experience the atmosphere of playing in front of 4,200 at the Vic.
“It was a great atmosphere, especially when that second goal went in, the place really erupted.
“Hopefully we can keep doing what we’ve been doing, keep pushing up the league and hopefully we’ll have more good days like that at the Vic.”