David Ferguson feels he is finally growing into his role as Blackpool captain.
Eyebrows were raised when the 21-year-old was handed the armband in the summer, a responsibility which manager Neil McDonald later admitted had been tough for the youngster.
But 30 games into his first full season as a professional, Ferguson feels he’s developing well in League One.
The defender said: “At the start of the season, it was a huge change for me personally playing every game – Saturday, Tuesday.
But I feel I’ve adapted well and the more I play the more I’ve improved.
“It’s a big responsibility to be captain and as the months have gone on I think I’m dealing with it all better.
“I’m growing as a person and I think it’s helping me now. I think I’m growing as a player and learning with every game I play.
“Also as a team I really think we are getting better and it’s time we pushed on now.”
Ferguson arrived from Sunderland’s U21 side just over a year ago, having been spotted by then Pool boss Lee Clark.
He made 10 appearances last season before McDonald picked him out as captain.
And the Sunderland-born defender, whose only other Football League experience consisted of six games for Darlington four years ago, says Pool’s senior players have really helped his progress.
He said: “David Norris, Emmerson Boyce and Colin Doyle are the type of lads I can go to and speak to.
“They’ve been there and have the T-shirt, so they are a real help to us all.
“The gaffer gave me the responsibility of being captain and I’m trying to take it with both hands.”
Even though Pool’s game at Oldham was postponed, little changed in their relegation battle last weekend because Chesterfield lost, while Fleetwood and Shrewsbury played out a 0-0 draw.
Now four points clear of the drop zone, Pool host two of the teams below them in the space of four days – Shrewsbury on Saturday and Oldham next Tuesday.
And Ferguson hopes to extend the four-match unbeaten run, saying: “We’ve kicked on since the New Year and hopefully we can carry that on now.
“We’ve been on good runs before but it’s a funny old league – you can win five, then lose five.
“If you get into a good run you can get up the league table easily.
“After how we have performed against the top sides recently, there’s no point going and getting nothing from these next two games.
“I think the next couple of games will show us where we will end up in the league.”
After Pool made four signings and extended Hayden White’s loan stay during the January window, skipper Ferguson feels the club is in much better shape than at the end of 2015.
He said: “I think we are miles stronger now as a squad. The gaffer has brought in some quality players, like Mark Yeates and Danny Philliskirk, who have gone straight in and made us much stronger.
“We are getting better and I think we’ll be in a really good position for next season as well.”