Hat-trick hero Heardman out to clip Seagulls' wings
Written by Tom Easterby
In-form forward Tom Heardman wants to continue his fine run in front of goal when Brighton & Hove Albion arrive in town this weekend.
Heardman has made headlines over the festive period after he grabbed back-to-back hat-tricks for Newcastle United Under-23s, as Peter Beardsley’s side beat Burnley 7-0 in a friendly and followed that up with a 6-0 rout of Bradford City in the Central League Cup.
The 21-year-old’s feats in front of goal have been welcomed by Beardsley, whose youthful team are in a rich vein of form.
And now, as he sets his sights on Premier League 2 Division Two rivals Brighton, Heardman credited his teammates for providing him with the ammunition he needed.
“I was hoping for a few more goals before the year was out and moving into January, but I couldn’t really have hoped for that many,” he told nufc.co.uk. “There were two games where we’ve scored a lot as a team, not just me, and I think we dominated the games and showed that we have a quality squad at the minute.
“There were good chances in the games for me, and that’s credit to the rest of the team around me. I try to be in the right place at the right time and try and finish it off, but I owe a lot to the rest of the team to put me in these situations and they have been doing that for the last few games, which I’m grateful for.
“In the end, a lot of it is down to the rest of the team, and we’ve got a quality squad with lots of players doing well, and we’ve got a great team spirit at the moment.
“We get on really well, and there’s a good atmosphere around the place. When you’re going into a game that helps you, it steadies the nerves, and you’ve got confidence in the players around you and you know that it’ll all be fine.”
On his tally of six goals in two games, former Hartlepool United loanee Heardman added: “It’s such a great feeling – it’s what you play the game for as a striker, to get goals, and when you score, you become greedy. You’re not really happy with what you’ve got – you just want to get the next one.
“I’m lucky at the minute because we’re getting a lot of games, and now we’ve got Brighton on Saturday. It good that when you’re in this kind of form the games keep on coming, so I’m very happy that it’s a busy period at the minute.”
The Seagulls arrive at United’s Little Benton Academy on Saturday (12pm kick-off) looking to avenge the 2-1 defeat they suffered in the reverse fixture at Crawley Town’s Checkatrade.com Stadium in September.
But Heardman reckons United’s second string’s excellent run of five wins in their last six outings suggests that they have the capability to earn another win as they return to league action this weekend.
“We’ve got a lot of momentum at the minute which I think can help a lot, going into tougher games like I think we’ll get in the next couple of weeks,” he said.
“I think another really encouraging thing that we’ve had is the clean sheets, so, even when we knew the games were over we still kept our discipline and did the right things.
“There’s a lot of signs that hopefully we won’t be slowing down any time soon.”
“There were good chances in the games for me, and that’s credit to the rest of the team around me. I try to be in the right place at the right time and try and finish it off, but I owe a lot to the rest of the team to put me in these situations and they have been doing that for the last few games, which I’m grateful for."