Kenton Richardson opens up on his Hartlepool United breakthrough after ‘unlucky’ injury woes

Kenton Richardson of Hartlepool United clears from Gateshead's JJ O'Donnell during the Vanarama National League match between Hartlepool United and Gateshead at Victoria Park, Hartlepool on Tuesday 1st January 2019. (Credit: Mark Fletcher | Shutter Press)'�Shutter Press'Tel: +44 7752 571576'e-mail: markf@mediaimage.co.uk'Address: 1 Victoria Grove, Stockton on Tees, TS19 7EL
Kenton Richardson of Hartlepool United clears from Gateshead's JJ O'Donnell during the Vanarama National League match between Hartlepool United and Gateshead at Victoria Park, Hartlepool on Tuesday 1st January 2019. (Credit: Mark Fletcher | Shutter Press)'�Shutter Press'Tel: +44 7752 571576'e-mail: markf@mediaimage.co.uk'Address: 1 Victoria Grove, Stockton on Tees, TS19 7EL

Hartlepool United full-back Kenton Richardson admits this season has been a real breakthrough for him - a stark contrast to 12 months ago.

Richardson broke his collar bone on December 23, 2017, just as he was starting to make a real impact in Craig Harrison’s Pools starting XI.

It was an injury which kept him out for the rest of the 2017/18 campaign.

This season, things could not be more different for the 19-year-old, who is forming an integral part of Richard Money’s new-look back four.

With 14 appearances to his name, double the number he made last season, Richardson is delighted to finally be showing Poolies exactly what he is all about.

“I have had a good run of games which has been positive for me,” said the defender.

“Two days before Christmas 2017 I broke my collar bone. I was unlucky with injury last season, but I have been lucky this campaign.

“Missing much of the season last year make this season’s games much better.”

Working under Money has been a joy for Richardson, who is impressed by the type of football his manager wants to play.

“I am enjoying working under him. I am enjoying being back in the team,” he said.

“He is a manager who likes to get the full-backs quite high and that is something I enjoy.

“I have been tried at centre-half this season - it’s not something I had really done before. But you will play anywhere for the team, as long as you are playing.

“I think I have done quite well no matter where I have played.

“No matter what we do this season in terms of results we need to keep the graft up.

“We have been unfortunate not to get better results over the festive period.”

Pools have let points slip, despite coming out of the festive period with points to show for their efforts.

At Gateshead they let at least a point slip from their grasp, while two more went begging at Chesterfield.

Richardson does think, against Heed in particular, that Pools have shown they can mix it with the teams in and around the National League play-offs.

“I thought we did well against them,” he said.

“They are a young team, who work hard and have done very well.

“But I think we have more than matched them, which is a good sign.

“We should have got something from both games against them.

“The games come thick and fast though and we want to keep up our unbeaten run.”

Hartlepool United take on Maidstone United at the Super 6 Stadium this afternoon.

Jake Cassidy is expected to make a return to the Pools XI after a short loan spell with today’s opponents, while injury doubts remain over skipper Andrew Davies, Harvey Rodgers and Connor Newton.

Pools are currently 10 points off seventh-placed Gateshead and the fifth tier play-offs.