LET’S FIGHT FOR OUR FUTURES...
Pools ace Nicky still positive
WITH Hartlepool United cut adrift at the foot of League Two, midfielder Nicky Featherstone has warned his team-mates they are playing for their careers.
The 26-year-old looked to have the world at his feet when he graduated from the youth ranks at Hull City to the first team, playing alongside the likes of England internationals Nicky Barmby and Ray Parlour.
But while the Tigers were to soon progress to the promised land of the Premier League, Featherstone’s career went south.
After dropping down the divisions, his contract was cancelled by Scunthorpe last September and he switched to Conference North parttimers Harrogate Town.
Fears for his future in the professional game quickly evaporated, though, when he was offered a Football League lifeline by Hartlepool just a few weeks later.
But with time running out for Ronnie Moore’s men to climb the table, Featherstone has moved to reiterate the severity of their situation.
“I had a brief four-game spell playing Non-League football just before I came here and it’s not particularly nice,” said Featherstone, who also turned out for North Ferriby United in 2007, during a loan spell from Hull.
“It was part-time as well, so I know what it is like to drop out the league and I don’t want that. “At this level it tends to be year by year that you are given contracts and we are fighting for our careers.
“I’m not too worried at the moment, but I’ve been down there and it’s not great.”
Pools have sat bottom of the table for the entire time Featherstone has been in the north-east, but a 1-0 win over AFC Wimbledon last weekend sparked hope of a great escape.
However, they succumbed to a 2-0 defeat at fellow strugglers Dagenham & Redbridge on Tuesday night – Featherstone’s first start in two months – and are yet to register back-to-back victories this term.
The remaining 11 league fixtures do not make for particularly pretty reading either. They still have to play three clubs that were situated in the bottom six ahead of the weekend’s fixtures, Carlisle, York and Oxford.
But all three of those clashes are away from home and Hartlepool have picked up just two points away from Victoria Park since early October.
Yet Featherstone hasn’t give up hope of a great escape.
“We still believe we can get out of it, we have enough games,” he added. “I’m not sure how many points we will need. We have enough time and games, but we can’t get back-to-back wins at the moment.
“We’re struggling to put a run of results together. It is one step forwards, two steps back. We get a positive result, then can’t build on that.
“But it’s in our hands. We’ve got a lot of quality, it is down to self-belief. When things are going against you, it’s hard but it is down to us as players and staff to rally together.”
BATTLING: Nicky Featherstone doesn’t want to drop down to Non-League again