Rhys Oates reveals the secret to his goalscoring success behind second spell at Hartlepool United
Rhys Oates believes the secret to his goalscoring success during his second stint at Hartlepool United is through playing down the middle.
Pools will be hoping Oates can replicate his goalscoring success when the National League play-offs get underway this weekend, with Dave Challinor’s side welcoming Bromley to The Vic on Sunday afternoon.
Oates has firmly established himself as one of the first names on the teamsheet under Challinor this season, his goalscoring now matching his effort and workrate, which was always there during his first stint at the club between 2015 and 2018.
Now though, he has also added goals to his game with a change in position a key factor.
Oates, who has 14 goals to his name this season, said: “The fans know what I’m capable of and that I’ll work hard.
"The last time I was here, they all said I worked hard it was just my end product.
"I think I’ve proved this year that I’ve got that but that’s come with confidence and experience in my own game and I don’t see it as proving my critics wrong or anything like that, it’s just more personally for me, I feel like I’ve done a lot better this year than my previous spell.
“Playing a lot more central is what it’s come from.
"I think I played the majority of my time out wide in my first spell here.
"Quite a lot at Morecambe as well I played on the left but playing down the middle and getting a partnership with Luke Armstrong, both of us just work well together. Danny Elliott has come in and worked his socks off too.
"It’s what you want in a partner and you help each other really.
“I don’t know how long that energy lasts!
"I just work as hard as I can every day and put my all into everything.
"My sprints and my high intensity running is always high and mentally I just work as hard as I can and that’s all it is.”
Victory over Weymouth saw Pools clinch fourth spot in the National League which means they now face three games if they are to win promotion this summer.
Should Pools win beat Bromley on Sunday, they will move into the semi-finals of the National League play-offs and face Stockport away before a potential final at Bristol City’s Ashton Gate against one of Notts County, Chesterfield or Torquay United on Sunday, June 20.
Boss Dave Challinor hopes to be able to call upon Luke Armstrong again after he missed the final league game through illness.
If not, then Challinor always has Danny Elliott to call upon again.
Challinor added: “Danny will benefit from it so it’s a positive from a negative if you like.
"Luke will hopefully be fine for next weekend because he’s massively important to us but to get 90-minutes into Danny is great and he will have loved it.
"He’ll be disappointed he’s not scored but regardless of that, it will stand him in better stead for us moving forward.”