He looked more like Terry Butcher but Nicky Deverdics is back and back in business being Nicky Deverdics.
The midfielder’s cultured left foot found Padraig Amond with a beautiful 40-yard ball at Cambridge on Tuesday night and a few short passes later it was in the back of the home net courtesy of Michael Woods’ deft finish.
Deverdics was in the wars at the Abbey Stadium after coming on as a sub for Rhys Oates just after the half-hour.
The 28-year-old took a bash to the head which required a Butcher-style bandaging job from physio Ian Gallagher and later he was the victim of an ugly challenge from Max Clark, who received his marching orders from referee Dean Whitestone.
But for Deverdics, any pain was washed away by the pleasure of getting on the field and playing a part in the first away win in five and a half-months as the U’s were beaten 1-0.
“I know Podge [Amond] likes to peel off the shoulder of the last man and I spotted him,” said the Geordie, who is thrilled to be back after spending a month on loan at Dover Athletic in the National League.
“When he got into the box, you fancy him to shoot but he was unselfish and laid it on superbly for Woodsy.
“It was a good goal, very well worked.
“We probably should have had at least a point at Notts County last Saturday, but that win at Cambridge was brilliant for everyone involved and very pleasing for the fans who have had to wait so long for an away win.
“It was nice to end that hoodoo.
“The lads had won back-to-back home games while I was out on loan so that’s now three wins in our last four and we’ll be looking to carry that on.
“Things are going in the right direction, we’re clicking into gear, the atmosphere is good and we’re eager to keep that going with a win tomorrow.”
Pools play host to Wycombe Wanderers at the Northern Gas & Power Stadium, where the side is unbeaten in five matches.
Deverdics is in contention for his first appearance on home turf since the 3-2 win over Morecambe in the final match of 2016.
He soon found himself out in the cold, but a month away on loan at his former stomping ground of Dover has done the trick.
Boss Dave Jones brought him back early from his stint in Kent and he has featured in the games at Notts County and Cambridge, coming on as a sub in both.
Deverdics found himself in the unfamiliar surroundings of left-back when he came on for the last half-hour at Meadow Lane after Pools went to a 4-4-2 in the later stages but was in his more natural surroundings of midfield in midweek when he seemed top revel in his role.
“Obviously we’ve had struggles with injuries and I’ve gone on at Notts County at left-wingback and then I’ve finished at left-back,” said the much-travelled midfielder who has two goals to his name since joining Pools in the summer.
“I think I’d have to go back to my Academy days the last time I’d played there.
“But I didn’t really care where I was playing I was just focused on the job of trying to get us back in the game.
“Tuesday was more my natural position and I enjoyed the game and I thought I did well for the team.
“It’s been nice to come on in both games, but obviously what I’m after now is starting games.”
And it would seem he may get his chance after Oates went off with a thigh problem.
“I don’t know what the craic is with Oatesy and his chances at the moment,” said Deverdics.
“You don’t want your opportunity to come through another player’s misfortune with injury.
“But injuries happen unfortunately and that leads to someone else getting a chance.
“If that’s what it takes and if I do get selected then I will look to grab the opportunity with both hands.
“I went out on loan for game-time and I got that and I’m feeling good.
“But I came back to play and nowI’d like to be starting matches.”