December 13 2013 Latest news:
Friday, November 1, 2013
One man who will be out to stop Dagenham & Redbridge from picking up their third successive League Two win is former Eastbury School pupil Jack Baldwin.
The 20-year-old signed for then League One Hartlepool United two years ago after a trial in the North East and since then he hasn’t looked back, featuring 63 times for Pools.
And having initially tried his luck with the Daggers as a youngster, the Barking-born centre half is eager to get one over his local club.
“I tried my luck as a youngster there a few seasons ago and got knocked back,” said Baldwin.
“These things happen in football though and with it being my local side it does add that little bit of spice because they are right on my doorstep to where I grew up.”
Last week’s 1-0 loss at Scunthorpe United was their first defeat in six after putting their poor start to the campaign in League Two behind them, having been relegated last season.
And with former England international Colin Cooper now in charge, Baldwin believes there was always going to be a settling in period under his fifth boss in two seasons at the club.
“We’ve been doing well at Hartlepool recently after a slow start and though we lost last week against Scunthorpe the performance was good,” he added.
“Working with a new manager probably meant things might take a bit of getting used to but everyone now knows the way we want to play and we’ve been executing it well of late.”
And having someone of Cooper’s experience in the game, Baldwin feels he is reaping the rewards.
“He’s been there, done it and worn the t-shirt and to have him as the manager is perfect for me,” he said.
“He’s got so much experience and it’s great to be able to learn from someone of his standing in the game each and every day.”
When initially joining Hartlepool, it was Baldwin’s first experience of life away from home and he certainly feels he’s matured since the move.
“Football is my life now and my job, but Hartlepool feels like home from home for me,” he said.
“It was a new experience, but it’s something that needed to happen and I feel like I’ve matured both as a footballer and a person.”
But Baldwin never forgets his roots and often comes back to visit the Hulse Avenue school as and when his time allows him, and admits it sometimes feels ‘a bit weird’ to be looked at as a celebrity back at the place which helped mould him as the person he is today.
“The new intake of students don’t know I used to go there, they just think I am another professional footballer,” he added.
“But when I’ve spoken to them you can see they are amazed. It’s a bit weird for me as I just think I’m little old Jack who used to be in their shoes once. It’s nice to come back and hopefully they benefit from the experience.”