MARK Halstead admits his chances of staying in Pool’s first team squad are slim but the keeper is determined to work hard and wait for another chance.
Halstead replaced the injured Richard Kingson in goal during Pool’s last match against champions Chelsea.
But Kingson is expected to be OK to face Blackburn today, and with Matt Gilks on the mend and Paul Rachubka back in training, Halstead knows his opportunities for the rest of the season may be limited.
The former Collegiate pupil will almost certainly be on the bench at Ewood Park but he admits: “I obviously expect another keeper to come in because I am still very inexperienced.
“I’ve been on the bench for two or three seasons now and probably wasn’t ready at the start, under Simon Grayson.
“But I’ve worked hard with the keeper coach (Andy Fairman) this season and improved a lot from training with our other keepers. I think I am ready to play, if the manager picks me.
“My heart was pumping a little when I came on against Chelsea but this is why you train.”
“You want to play and it can be frustrating at times waiting for your chance as a young keeper.
“It has been nice going to these big stadiums, but if you don’t come on you don’t really feel part of it.
“But I am only 20 and who expects to play in the Premier League at that age?
“I got on against Chelsea and I hope there is more to come. The manager must rate me to put me on the bench.
“I just need to keep improving and keep showing him why he should have faith in me.”
Whoever keeps goal for the rest of the season, Halstead is confident they will get the job done: “We only need two or three wins and I’ve no doubt we will stay up.”