Hartlepool United are starting to see the ‘real’ Blair Adams – but the player insists he’s only just getting started after a frustrating season.
The left-back was viewed by many as one of Craig Harrison’s summer disappointments, having struggled with fitness at first, then found it hard to make an impact in the first team.
But in the last few weeks he’s looked a player transformed, adding defensive discipline to his obvious talent going forward.
Adams himself admits his start to life at Pools has been far from perfect, but he hopes that’s all behind him now.
“The last few weeks I feel I’ve played with a real confidence and that’s down to Batesy (Matthew Bates) and Ged (McNamee),” said the South Shields-born full-back.
“I’ve know Ged for years having worked with him at Sunderland. He’s come in and gave us a real boost.
“The last two home games I feel I’ve made the impact I should be making.
“Pre-season I started strongly, but I got a couple of injuries and I’ve had to wait to get back in the team.
“Now I want to keep improving personally and get results back on track.”
As well as a switch in the coaching staff, Adams thinks a system tweak under Bates has played to his strengths.
“I suppose the way the team has been playing in a diamond formation brings out the best in me,” he said.
“I’ve really enjoyed it and I’ve been looking forward to games which I think is a big thing.
“At times before we were probably dreading games but not now and I think we are all in a good vein of form, we just have to put this result to bed and move forward.”
Meanwhile, Adams is backing under-fire defender Louis Laing to bounce back from his Guiseley blunder.
Laing was at fault for the National League basement boys’ winner in the 94th minute at the Vic on Monday afternoon.
But after a string of solid performances, Adams reckons Laing has more than answered his critics this season.
And having known him since their youth team days at Sunderland, the left-back is sure his defensive partner is certain has the character to bounce back from his latest faux pas.
“He’s a strong character,” said Adams.
“We’ve all made mistakes this season, I’ve made them, Mags (skipper Carl Magnay) has made them, everyone has made them.
“For Louis, he must re-focus and concentrate on Saturday.
“He can take confidence from his recent performances and he’s experienced enough to deal with this.
“I’ve played with Laingy for years and I now he’s a brilliant player – he’s an experienced pro, he’ll re-focus.
“We’ve seen the best of him in the last few games so it’s disappointing for him to finish like that.
“The last few weeks he’s been a man mountain, he can’t dwell on that mistake.
“We’ve all made errors and we’ll make more in our careers, it’s part of the game.
“I’m confident he’ll be a man mountain again on Saturday if he starts.”
Laing and Adams have been playing in their right position in recent weeks, but the same can’t be said of the other half of the Pools back four.
Lewis Hawkins has been doing an admirable job slotting in to the right-hand side of the backline, while captain Magnay has looked every bit at home in the centre alongside Laing.
“It’s been all right,” Adams said of the makeshift make-up of Pools back four.
“Mags has been filling in at centre-half, he’s quite vocal and that’s gone well.
“We’ve had a problem all season getting a settled back four with injuries and the like. We’ve never had five or six games with the same back four but you have to deal with it.
“You just have to get on with it.”