NICKY Featherstone says the Hartlepool United players are “absolutely gutted” to lose Michael Woods through injury – but he is looking to make the most of his return to the side, writes richard mennear.
Hull-born Featherstone hadn’t started in two months but was back against Wayne Burnett’s Dagenham & Redbridge side in place of Woods on Tuesday night.
I felt like we were well on top for the first 20 minutes, and that is the time when we concededNicky Featherstone
Popular Woods has been ruled out for the season after suffering a dislocated ankle and fractured fibula in the win over Wimbledon.
But it has presented Featherstone with the chance to reclaim his spot after he extended his contract until the end of the season.
He has wished his teammate a speedy recovery but is looking to make the most of the opportunity.
Featherstone said: “We are all absolutely gutted for Michael.
“Woodsy has been brilliant for us in the past couple of months especially and he has probably been our top performer.
“We wish him a speedy recovery.
“For me personally, it is good to be back involved in the team, it was my first game for a while.
“It is good to be playing with [Aaron Tshibola] Tish in the middle – he is a good footballer.”
Pools came back empty-handed following the long midweek trip to Dagenham & Redbridge, the club’s 21st defeat of the campaign.
Ronnie Moore’s side remain in a perilous situation in League Two.
But Featherstone – who started his first Pools game since January 3 at Victoria Road in midweek – insists it is still all to play for.
“We have 12 games left and 36 points to play for, it is not over just yet,” Featherstone told SportMail.
“For us it is about putting a few results together, do that and it will get us right in amongst it.
“But at the moment we are too inconsistent and are not able to do that.”
Pools dominated the opening stages of the match, pressing the Daggers back and winning six corners in quick succession in the opening 20 minutes.
But they couldn’t capitalise and fell behind to a Scott Harrison own goal, shortly after home keeper Mark Cousins was subbed with a head injury.
Featherstone added: “It is always disappointing coming away and losing.
“I felt like we were well on top for the first 20 minutes, and that is the time when we conceded.
“We needed a goal in that period.
“If we did, we’d have probably gone on and had a comfortable night.
“Their keeper going off slowed the game down but that didn’t really have anything to do with the defeat.
“It was down to a lack of concentration, whether it be stopping the cross or letting your man run across you.
“You cannot do that at any level, especially the situation we are in.”