Hartlepool United’s Rhys Oates raring to go after spell out

Rhys Oates.
Rhys Oates.
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Rhys Oates is determined to make up for lost time after a recent spell out of the Hartlepool United first team, writes Richard Mennear.

The versatile forward has already made 24 appearances since joining in the summer, the longest spell of first team football the ex-Barnsley youth has enjoyed since turning professional.

And the 21-year-old believes an enforced spell of rest by manager Ronnie Moore has done him the world of good.

Oates, who has played out wide for most of the season, was benched against Leyton Orient and Mansfield but he has come back with a bang since.

He scored his second goal of the season in the 1-1 FA Cup second round draw with Salford City, producing a man of the match display.

And the pacy forward is pleased - and relieved - to be back in the starting line-up.

“I’m really happy to be back playing in the first team,” Oates said.

“The rest for a couple of games has done me good.

“Now that I’m back playing, I just want to crack on, stay in the side and do well for Hartlepool United.

“I was pleased to get a goal against Salford and hopefully I can build on that in the games to come.”

Oates was handed a free role against the non-league minnows on Friday night, a game that ultimately ended in frustration for Moore and the travelling Pools supporters.

Salford drew level midway through the first half, with Pools going on to miss two golden opportunities to wrap the tie up.

Rakish Bingham and Scott Fenwick failing to score with free headers from close range.

The replay takes place next Tuesday night at Victoria Park.

Pools are back in league action before then though, making the long trip south to Portsmouth on Saturday.

Pools, 20th in League Two, have lost their last two league outings, 3-1 away to Mansfield and 1-0 at home to Oxford United.

Oates insists the Pools squad is determined to get back to winning ways at Fratton Park this weekend.

“We had enough chances to win the game at Salford,” added Oates.

“It wasn’t to be so we are going to have to go again in the replay.

“Of course there was a huge sense of disappointment afterwards but we are confident we will do better at our place.

“I think we’ll be a different side at home, we are a good footballing side and we will show that on a better pitch and I feel we can get through to the next round.

“Before that though we have a tough game at Portsmouth.

“We will approach it like every other game, we will go there looking to win, like we always do.

“I’m not sure what the team will be but we’ll be looking to get back to winning ways in the league, for sure.”