Hartlepool Utd’s Austin back on form for trip to Leyton Orient

Neil Austin scores the opening goal during the 1-1 draw with Doncaster from the penalty spot. Picture by FRANK REID
Neil Austin scores the opening goal during the 1-1 draw with Doncaster from the penalty spot. Picture by FRANK REID

NEIL Austin has no explanation for his early-season dip in form – but the Yorkshireman admits his first-team axe was the “kick up the backside” he needed.

And now, having regained his position in the side at right-back, the 29-year-old is once again happy with his contribution.

Indeed, Austin has been one of Pools’ most consistent performers in recent weeks and was on target from the penalty spot during Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Doncaster Rovers.

He will again be the most experienced defender in the line-up for tonight’s trip to Leyton Orient, and ahead of that game the former player of the year spoke candidly about his own travails this season.

“I was taken out of the team and the gaffer had a few words with me,” Austin told SportMail.

“No excuses, but it gave me a kick up the backside and I hope I’ve put in a few good performances since.

“I wasn’t playing well, I admit that, but I don’t know why.

“You do all the same things, prepare right and it’s just down to form really, players do drop out of it.

“I was looking into the reasons why because you go home disappointed in yourself and it does start affecting your home life as well.

“The quicker you sort it out, the better it is for everyone, and I’d like to think I’ve done that now.”

And on a team front Austin believes that Pools – second from bottom in League One – are on the cusp of a turnaround.

“It was a good performance on Saturday,” he said, “We just need that one win and the rest will come.

“We have to stick together and stay positive.

“No-one is feeling sorry for themselves, we feel we should be higher up and I believe we have the the players to do so.

“We haven’t started as well as we would have hoped or expected.

“We have been unlucky at times, but we have also shot ourselves in the foot.”

He went on: “The gaffer has told us to keep our heads up after a good performance.

“Morale is good in the camp, there is nothing wrong with morale at all.

“We have put in some positive performances and hopefully we’ll carry that on at Orient.

“It is frustrating for us all, but at least we are playing well and not getting turned over by a few goals like we have been.”