Mark Cullen discusses settling in at Hartlepool United, familiar faces, injury set-back and his positive outlook on playing

After a difficult pre-season, Mark Cullen is raring to go at Hartlepool United.

Tuesday, 17th August 2021, 12:30 pm

The 29-year-old striker joined Pools after leaving Port Vale at the end of last season but picked up a hamstring injury in the second friendly match at Spennymoor Town.

He didn’t feature for the rest of pre-season and has been limited to two substitute appearances so far this campaign.

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Mark Cullen (photo: HUFC)

And despite a disjointed start to life at Pools, the Ashington-born forward is relishing being back in the north east alongside some familiar faces.

“It’s really good so far to be fair,” Cullen said.

"I’ve been friends with Gav Holohan for over 10 years anyway and always kept in touch with him. All the lads have been great and it’s good as a new signing to be able to come in and settle into the dressing room quickly, it’s been good.

“Me and Gav were in the same youth team [at Hull City], the same age group so we’ve stayed close. Feath was there too a couple of years above us.

“It’s been really easy to come in, it’s obviously not been great with the injury I’ve had but I’m not concerned at all, I felt my hamstring early in one of the pre-season games and instead of risking making it worse, I came off and hopefully that’s behind me now and a can crack on and get in the team.

"I’ve had a couple of appearances to build the minutes up so it’s a slow progression after I missed a good few pre-season games.

"It’s just about getting the match sharpness back and the only way you can do that is by playing. I feel comfortable and ready, it’s just about how the gaffer wants to play me and use me in the side. I’m ready whenever called upon.”

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Cullen has already gained something of a reputation as a bit of a joker during his first month at Pools.

“It’s the character I am,” he explained. “I like to have a laugh but once we get out on the pitch, we play and we train properly.

"At the end of the day we’re playing football for a job and if you can’t enjoy that and come into work every day with a smile on your face then you’re not doing something right.

“The older I get, the more experienced I get and if something goes against you and you get injured or get beat, whatever it might be, if you let it stew for a couple of days or weeks then it doesn’t benefit you at all.

"If you get beat, you look at what you can do better and you’ve always got to come in with a new lease of life I think and look at the next game with positivity and how you can improve. If you dwell it’s only going to work against you.

“So I just want to play as much as I can and score as many goals as I can. It’s not rocket science really. I just want to play football and score goals to help the team and the club.”

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