NICKY Featherstone says he is looking forward to focusing on his football after extending his stay at Hartlepool United until the end of the season.
Pools boss Ronnie Moore was keen to tie the 26-year-old down to a new deal until the end of the season, as revealed by SportMail, and the midfielder put pen to paper at Victoria Park on deadline day.
Featherstone arrived on a short-term deal in November under then boss Paul Murray but saw his deal initially extended by a month until the end of January by Moore.
The central midfielder has not played in the past few weeks but has been on the bench and Moore always wanted to retain his experience until the end of the campaign.
The deal has now been completed and he will compete with the likes of Matthew Bates, who has been in the holding midfield role recently, for a place in the starting line-up.
“It’s good to get things sorted and be able to fully focus on my football now,” said Featherstone.
“Obviously I want to be playing – every player does – but at the end of the day it’s about the team and it’s about getting the results to keep our league status.
“The last three or four games have seen good performances and we could probably have picked up more points than we have so we just have to keep going.
“The manager has been honest with me and kept me in the loop, he’s told me that I need to keep my head down, keep working hard and my chance will come.
“I will be ready when that time comes and do everything I can to help the team,” added Featherstone.
While it was a mainly positive deadline day for Pools, the club was struck a blow when Mansfield Town recalled Rakish Bingham after just a month on loan at the club.
The pacy 21-year-old scored one goal in five matches for Pools and was due to stay until the end of the season.
But relegation rivals Mansfield – who had inserted a clause to say he could come back after a month – dropped to second bottom at the weekend and have recalled Bingham early from his spell in the North East back to Field Mill.
His departure wasn’t a shock given Mansfield’s dip in form but he will be a huge miss to Pools having led the line in Moore’s new look 4-3-3 formation in recent weeks against Tranmere Rovers and Plymouth Argyle.
Strugglers Pools picked up a point at Tranmere and all three in the 3-2 win over Argyle at Victoria Park to bring them to within seven points of safety.