Billy Paynter is relishing life at Hartlepool United – now that he finally feels “wanted”.
Pools’ new captain led the line superbly against Morecambe, scoring one and setting up Rakish Bingham in a 2-0 League Two win on the opening day of the season.
Paynter’s header 25 minutes in was his 100th league goal, before playing his strike partner in with a sublime lob midway through the second half.
The 31-year-old – made an outcast at former club Carlisle – was delighted to get off the mark as Pools started the season in the best possible way.
And he is looking to repay the faith shown in him by manager Ronnie Moore.
“It is nice to be wanted first and foremost and the manager has shown that faith in me,” Paynter said. “He has shown trust in me to give me the armband and I want to repay him and the team.
“When you are wanted, it just gives you a real extra boost in confidence. It is a learning curve and one I am relishing.
“I’m just happy to be out there playing, I’m not one to be sat there watching games and I am loving every minute here.
“I have shown the fans what I am about, I don’t mind taking the kicks and the knocks and taking the pressure off the other lads.”
To cap a positive opening day, Paynter’s goal was also a landmark 100th in his career.
He added: “It is a proud moment although I thought I’d already passed it! I’m really pleased to get 100 league goals, but more pleased to get the win. Everybody in the dressing room was really chuffed.
“To go with three up front showed the manager’s intent to go at them. All pre-season we have played 3-5-2 so to play 4-3-3 surprised Morecambe.”
Pools visit Fleetwood in the Capital One Cup tomorrow.