Paul Hartley yet to decide on Hartlepool United vice-captain with ex-Luton Town and Gillingham defender in the frame

Paul Hartley says the decision to keep Nicky Featherstone as Hartlepool United’s captain was never in doubt but admits he is still to make a decision over a vice-captain.

By Joe Ramage
Wednesday, 3rd August 2022, 4:30 pm

Featherstone began his ninth season for Pools as he led his side out at Walsall for the opening day of the new season last weekend with the new manager assured from the moment he was appointed at the Suit Direct Stadium the midfielder would continue as his captain.

“It was never in doubt,” Hartley revealed to The Mail.

“It never really entered my head about anyone else. It was an easy decision.”

Alex Lacey was given the Hartlepool United captaincy in Nicky Featherstone's absence in pre-season. (Credit: Mark Fletcher | MI News)

Featherstone was one of the first players Hartley made contact with following his appointment when speaking to his captain over the phone in a conversation where he outlined the standards he would be bringing to the club this season.

And speaking with The Mail, Hartley described what he looks for from his captains.

“Just being a leader. Helping players. Helping your team mate. Be a good teammate,” he said.

“Be a good player. Have good organisation. Do what he’s [Featherstone] being doing. He’s an experienced player.

Euan Murray was vice-captain of his former side Kilmarnock. Picture by Martin Swinney

“Some need a little jag sometimes. Sometimes you have to speak to them. Some you can give a rollicking to. Just be a good captain.”

And Hartley will need to address some of those qualities when selecting his vice-captain for the season.

In both Gary Liddle and Neill Byrne, Pools have lost two players who took on the armband in Featherstone’s absence last season when they departed the club this summer.

New signing Alex Lacey was given the armband in pre-season in place of Featherstone on occasion but Hartley concedes he has not finalised his decision yet.

“I haven’t to be honest. I’ve just been fully focused on the games,” said Hartley.

“It’s not really entered my head. But I’ll decide on that. I gave Alex the captaincy in one of the games but I’ve not really thought about it.”

Lacey has plenty of league experience if he were to be given the role from Hartley having featured for the likes of Luton Town and Gillingham in his career.

Centre-back partner Euan Murray may be another considered for the role having held the title at his former club Kilmarnock.