Nicky Deverdics is a natural at left-back, insists Hartlepool boss Craig Harrison

Hartlepool Uniteds Nicky Deverdics during his starring role in the game against Maidstone United at Victoria Park.
Hartlepool Uniteds Nicky Deverdics during his starring role in the game against Maidstone United at Victoria Park.

Nicky Deverdics might “not thank” us for calling him Hartlepool United’s new left-back.

But the gifted midfielder has made it very hard for Craig Harrison to leave him out for Saturday’s huge National League confrontation with Dagenham & Redbridge.

Deverdics has deputised so well for the injured Blair Adams that the summer signing may well have to bide his time before regaining the number three slot.

Harrison, a top-class left-back in his day, turned to the cultured Geordie at Guiseley last Monday when Adams was ruled out.

The 29-year-old, who successfully filled in a couple of times at left-back last season when Dave Jones was manager, was excellent in the win at Netherdale, where Pools won for the first time this season.

If Deverdics produced a terrific supporting display in the 1-0 victory over the Leeds club, he played a starring role in Saturday’s 3-1 triumph over Maidstone United.

On a day when there was no shortage of man-of-the-match candidates, the former Newcastle product was outstanding.

Not only was he solid in defence, he was superb going forward, putting in cross after cross while stinging the gloves of Stones keeper Lee Worgan was a 30-yard free-kick.

The biggest compliment you could give him was that he looked a natural.

“I don’t think he’ll thank you for saying that!” laughed Harrison.

“If he’s going to be a left-back, he’s going to have to get rid to of his orange boots and sort out his hair!

“Being an ex-left-back myself you have to be a bit more angry, more aggressive.

“But I have to say his positional play has been fantastic.

“Knowing left-back inside out if you get your starting position wrong, you are always playing catch up, he’s never been done.

“From a critical point of view – ultra critical from my ex position at the top level – maybe twice he’s been in the wrong starting position.

“Twice in 180 minutes? Not bad from someone who is not a left-back.

“He adds balance with his left foot, he has the freedom to get forward he’s got lot of quality with his set-plays and crosses.”

Harrison is as impressed with the team ethos of Deverdics as much as his footballing ability.

“It’s another example here of the team coming before the individual,” said the ex-Boro and Crystal Palace defender.

“He’s more than happy to roll up his sleeves and contribute to the squad.

“Devs has put himself second to the team, which I commend.”

His football was pretty good too it has to be noted.

Deverdics provided the cross for the critical second goal, headed in by Jonathan Franks, having put in one of the balls of the match early on which Connor Simpson was only a midge’s bootlace from connecting with.

And the beauty about it was the fact he got in his crosses early before the away defence could get organised – there was no messing about.

With Dev, we know his quality.

“When you have hungry young players in the area who want to get on the end of things, when you have someone of Connor’s height or someone like Devante coming in at the far post, you want the ball in there.

“It’s tough for defenders to defend that space in the corridor of uncertainty.

“When you have defenders facing their own goal, centre forwards coming onto it then anything can happen.

“The quality Devs has got is something we’ve talked about, getting more balls in the box and asking the question.

“We know too that while the first ball might not get a goal, but the second-phase ball might drop to someone or a defender might put through his own net.

“You are never going to know if you don’t ask the question.”