John Askey reveals the reason why ex-Rangers winger has struggled for Hartlepool United after impressive Ebbsfleet United cameo
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It goes without saying it has been a difficult time for Hastie over the best part of the last 18-months since his arrival at Hartlepool.
The 24-year-old joined from 2022 Europa League finalists Rangers in what threatened to be the club’s most significant piece of transfer business last summer ahead of their second successive League Two campaign.
Hastie brought with him bags of potential having also done well during a brief loan spell with Rotherham United in League One – it felt as though he may have been the one to replace Hartlepool’s outgoing player of the year, Luke Molyneux.
Much like the rest of last season’s squad, however, Hastie struggled from the off and became a target for criticism from supporters before, ultimately, being left out of the side altogether.
The Scotsman made his final appearance of last season in the 2-1 home defeat to Colchester United as a substitute back in January, having gone the first six months of his Hartlepool career without a goal.
The winger’s time at Hartlepool felt as though it could be over in the summer, with Askey having also not used Hastie during the run-in last season after his appointment.
And yet Hastie was named on the bench for Pools’ opening day fixture at Barnet where he would come on as a substitute to spark something of a comeback with a goal, as well as winning a penalty, in their 3-2 defeat.
It wasn’t to be a turning point for Hastie, though, who made just three further substitute appearances following that opening day defeat prior to Saturday’s introduction against Ebbsfleet.
Hastie’s game time is below even that of Osazee Aghatise’s this season, despite the midfielder spending just four weeks with the club.
And yet the Scotsman was brought in from the cold against Ebbsfleet and made a big impression when scoring what should have been the winner – only for Pools to concede deep into added time.
But Hastie’s impact impressed boss Askey, who conceded it has been difficult to include the 24-year-old given the criticism he gets from supporters before praising the former Rangers man for coming up with the best possible answer.
“Jake is one of those where when I came into the club, whether he’d had a bad time or not, I’m not sure,” said Askey.
"When he’s played the crowd have got on his back and it’s been difficult to play him because of that.
"But he’s done really well in training, he never gets his head down [about things], he keeps working really hard and you could see he was closing people down and working as hard as he could and I’m really pleased he got the goal because he hasn’t had a good time of it and he’s had a lot of stick.
"The best way to answer that is by putting the ball in the back of the net and doing what he’s done, so I’m pleased for him and hopefully that will give him some confidence for when we need him again.”