Paynter: Not sulking has reaped rewards for Hartlepool striker Scott Fenwick

Scott Fenwick in action for Hartlepool against Morecambe
Scott Fenwick in action for Hartlepool against Morecambe

Not sulking and knuckling down has reaped rewards for Scott Fenwick, believes his strike partner and captain Billy Paynter.

The 25-year-old found chances in the first team hard to come by in the weeks leading up to the new League Two campaign, with Moore favouring Paynter and Rakish Bingham up front in the final friendly matches.

Scott Fenwick in action for Hartlepool against Morecambe

Scott Fenwick in action for Hartlepool against Morecambe

But a late re-think led to Moore starting the season with an attacking 4-3-3 formation - with ex-Dunston frontman Fenwick joining the pair up front.

The system worked well, with Paynter the focal point, holding up the ball and bringing others into play as Pools picked up their first win.

And Paynter has moved to praise Fenwick, plucked from non-league last season, for his hard graft and positive attitude.

“Scotty has been a bit frustrated not to have got a lot of minutes [during pre-season],” Paynter told SportMail.

He kept his head up and was a man about it.

Billy Paynter

“I took him to one side and said, ‘keep your head up because in football you never know’.

“You will get your chance and it does you no good if you are sulking but credit to him, he didn’t do that.

“He kept his head up and was a man about it.

“He then started against Morecambe and shared the workload.”

Having worked on 3-5-2 all pre-season, Paynter admits the late change in system - which the squad worked on for just half an hour in training on Friday - took a bit of adjusting to. Injuries had forced Moore’s hand but the Scouse captain enjoyed having another striker alongside him.

“It was different having three strikers up front, and I think Morecambe were more surprised,” he added.

“Maybe the injuries were a blessing in disguise because we just went three up and attacked them.

“We stopped them playing, stopped their back four getting out and linking with their midfield.

“We showed a lot of desire to get in behind and we only played the system for half an hour on Friday in training.

“It is important for strikers to hit the ground running and I was really pleased to score, Bings crossed for me and I returned the favour for his.

“Bings was very composed when he went through.”

There is no rest for the Pools squad, with the traditional busy start to the new campaign continuing tonight away to Fleetwood Town in the first round of the Capital One Cup.

Fleetwood play in the league above but Paynter is looking forward to the challenge facing League Two Pools.

Paynter added: “Fleetwood is another tough game, they have signed some good players and like to play football.

“It is one we are looking forward to though and we are up to the challenge.

“We want tough games though - to challenge yourself.

“I think Fleetwood will be up there this season in League One.

“But we just have to worry about ourselves and play how we want to be playing.”

Paynter led from the front in the win over Morecambe, with Moore handing him the captain’s armband for the first time in his career.

And he insists he will use his new found influence to good affect in the dressing room.

He added: “We have a real togetherness and we want to be doing things together and having a laugh and enjoying training.

“When the dressing room is scattered and you have people in corners and little groups, it is a waste of time.”

* Tickets for Hartlepool United’s trip to York City are now on general sale - with Pools fans already snapping up more than 1,000.

Pools travel to Bootham Crescent on Saturday for the first away game of the League Two season. Fans have already snapped up 725 of the 1,700 allocation of terrace tickets and 272 of the 300 seating tickets made available. Prices: Seating Adults - £19, Concessions - £13, Under 5s – Free, Standing; Adults - £18, Concessions £12, Under 5s – Free, Disabled; Adults - £18, concessions - £12.