Hartlepool’s versatile Rhys Oates inspired by his Billy Idol!

Rhys Oates in action
Rhys Oates in action

Rhys Oates may be playing out of position out on the wing for Hartlepool United.

But the 20-year-old forward isn’t grumbling and is instead taking inspiration from his captain in a bid to improve his overall game and goalscoring ratio.

Oates joined Pools in the summer after being released from Barnsley but despite being a striker by trade, Moore has played him out wide for much of this season.

The prospect insists he is enjoying his role in the side, despite Pools’ indifferent form, and he has revealed he is being inspired daily by captain Billy Paynter.

Paynter has a wealth of experience after spells with the likes of Leeds United, Carlisle United and Doncaster Rovers.

Oates told SportMail: “It is good to train with Billy, he has a lot of experience and is a confident player and a confident person.

“He is a striker and though I’m out on the wing at the moment, I watch him training and see what he does and learn from that.

“It helps me a lot, especially if I go back up front.”

Having released Marlon Harewood and with Jordan Hugill returning to parent club Preston North End, Pools boss Ronnie Moore had prioritised improving his attacking options in the summer.

In came Oates, Paynter and Rakish Bingham from Mansfield Town.

Paynter is the club’s top scorer, netting seven goals in 16 appearances this campaign, and Moore has favoured partnering him with Bingham up front with Oates out wide.

Scott Fenwick has had to make do with a place on the bench and Oates admits he is just happy to be playing.

“I’m really enjoying my football at the minute,” added Oates.

“I’d like to be getting the results to be going our way too, of course.

“But personally I’m doing well and even though I’m playing out of position I am used to playing there now and getting more comfortable with each game.

“Now I have played there a few times I feel just as confident playing there as I do up front.

“I enjoy running at players and crossing balls in.”

Oates recently celebrated his first goal in blue and white, scoring in the 1-1 home draw with Barnet in League Two.

Now he wants to build on that.

“My first goal had been coming,” added Oates.

“I was pleased to get off the mark and hopefully I’ll get a few more in the coming weeks.”

Oates, who stands at 6ft 2” tall, has previously had loan spells at Conference North side Gainsborough Trinity, Stockport County, Grimsby Town and Chester last season, where he netted twice in seven matches but didn’t manage to register a goal for Barnsley in nine appearances before being released.