Hartlepool Utd’s centre-halves back each other to score at Stevenage

Peter Hartley and Sam Collins
Peter Hartley and Sam Collins

SAM Collins and Peter Hartley might be comrades at one end of the pitch – but they’re fierce rivals at the other.

The centre-back pairing put in a colossal display against Huddersfield Town on Tuesday night, recording their first clean sheet of the season during the goalless draw.

After 19 shut-outs last term their defensive credentials are not in doubt, but on an attacking front the duo admit they came up short.

That is why there’s a £50 wager riding on the outcome of whoever top scores between the two this year.

“We’ve already had a 50 quid bet between the pair of us on who will score the most goals,” revealed skipper Collins ahead of tomorrow’s trip to Stevenage.

“That was probably the most disappointing thing last year, I think Pete got three and I got two, which is poor.

“We need to be looking for at least seven or eight goals – Mick said to me he wanted 10 but I’m not sure about that!”

Wadsworth has long since placed great emphasis on Pools’ return from set-pieces, something which Collins and Hartley are central to.

And the 34-year-old agrees it’s a vital source of goals in a division where chances can be at a premium.

“It’s a really important side of the game at this level and Mick is really keen on it,” he added.

“With the quality of Nobby (Solano) and Evan (Horwood) from deliveries as well we’ve got no excuse not to start getting on the end of things.

“If centre-backs are getting nearly double figures then it’s going to put you in a really strong position in the league.

“But we need to get more goals into the team generally.

“James Poole and Colin Nish should help with that, but the likes of Andy Monkhouse, Gary Liddle and Tony Sweeney have goals in them too.

“We’ve all got to step up and chip in a little bit more.”

Hartley agrees with his captain that their goals return needs to improve.

Although he fears Collins could pull rank if it’s neck and neck towards the end of the season.

“If it’s tight between us I might not be going up for corners, as the elder statesman Sam gives the instructions and I just do what he says,” laughed the 23-year-old.

“But it is something we’ve spoken about.

“We’re both big lads and should be more of a threat, especially from corners and free-kicks.

“We’ve definitely got goals in us and if this little bet helps drive us on then it can only be a good thing.”