Huddersfield Town goalkeeper reflects on Hartlepool United debut and a whirlwind 24 hours to get there

Nicholas Bilokapic has chronicled the eventful 24-hours which culminated in him completing his Hartlepool United debut against Northampton Town.

By Joe Ramage
Sunday, 27th March 2022, 8:00 am

The result might not have gone the way Bilokapic would have hoped on his first appearance for the club, but his journey to get there was nevertheless a frantic one.

On Friday, Huddersfield Town loan keeper Bilokapic was in the Netherlands with his national side Australia as the young Socceroo’s played out an entertaining 2-2 draw with the Dutch.

But the 19-year-old was immediately back on a flight to the UK in order to make the trip to Sixfields where he would replace Ben Killip as Pools’ No.1 for the afternoon.

Nicholas Bilokapic made his Hartlepool United debut against Northampton Town. Picture by FRANK REID

Killip missed the trip to Northampton having been dealing with an illness in the run up to the game but with Bilokapic on international duty it left Graeme Lee sweating over his goalkeeping department.

But Bilokapic made the trip with the squad and acquitted himself well despite the defeat against the Cobblers.

“I don’t know where to start. Yesterday we had a game against the Netherlands and straight after the game I was back on a flight,” explained the Australian.

“I got home about midnight. Woke up early and got myself ready for the bus.

Nicholas Bilokapic made his Hartlepool United debut less than 24 hours after featuring for Australia on international duty. Picture by FRANK REID

“It’s been very crazy. It’s definitely the first time [anything like this has happened], and hopefully the last.”

Bilokapic has had to bide his time since arriving from the John’s Smith’s Stadium as a replacement for backup keeper Jonathan Mitchell.

But the youngster admits he always believed his chance would come.

“Personally, time has been passing by and I’ve been holding my nerve. I’ve been patient,” he said.

“I’ve always told myself when the chance comes you’ve just got to be ready and the chance did come.

“It came unexpectedly. Yesterday I was in a different country and this morning I get the call to say I’m playing. So I had to be ready.

Bilokapic added: “I think for every young player, and every player in general, everyone wants to play.

“I just told myself to be patient but there’s no point trying to persist thinking you’re going to play all the time.

“When the moment comes, the moment comes, and you’ve just got to take it with both hands and take it in your stride.”

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