Newcastle United defender Lewis Cass reflects on Hartlepool United loan spell so far and his first team aspirations at St James' Park

Newcastle United loanee Lewis Cass has had to adapt quickly to senior football with Hartlepool United in the National League.

Monday, 4th January 2021, 12:30 pm

The 20-year-old defender is spending the full season at Victoria Park on loan from the Premier League outfit.

It’s been Cass’ first taste of playing men’s football having come through the ranks at Newcastle's academy.

But he quickly established himself in the side as Pools’ starting right-back, playing every minute of the campaign prior to a hamstring injury picked up in the FA Trophy at Halifax Town last month.

Lewis Cass of Hartlepool United during the Vanarama National League match between Hartlepool United and Kings Lynn Town at Victoria Park, Hartlepool on Tuesday 8th December 2020. (Credit: Mark Fletcher | MI News)

And it’s proven to be a positive learning experience for Cass from the start.

“In academy football, wingers and forward players are encouraged to run at a full-back whenever they get a chance,” he said.

“But the National League has been more physical, there are elbows and kicks being thrown around and it wakes you up as a player.

"That happened on my debut against Aldershot. I got an elbow inside the first five minutes when I went up to clear a long ball, but it woke me up and it got me going.

Lewis Cass signed for Hartlepool just before the start of the 2020-21 season (photo: Alex Chandy/HUFC)

“You have to get on with it because there’s a lot at stake for us as a club and for the players and managers.”

Discussing his targets, Cass added: "So far, everything is going to plan for both myself and the team. I’ve settled in well and got the game-time that I’ve wanted.

“I didn’t know many players when I joined, but I was told that it was a new-look squad and that the manager believed we could challenge this season.

“I think with the quality we have we should be looking to finish in the top five and there is no reason why we can’t achieve that.

“We just have to keep doing what we are doing and improving as the season continues. Promotion is definitely the aim.”

Cass is now back training following his hamstring injury which saw him miss Pools’ last three National League games.

Former Newcastle defender Jamie Sterry came into the side in his absence as Pools climbed to second in the table with consecutive wins over Stockport County, Halifax Town and Notts County.

But Cass is hoping to return for Hartlepool’s first match of 2021 at home to Wealdstone this Saturday.

The Geordie defender’s previous outing at Victoria Park saw him claim two assists for Luke Armstrong in a 2-0 win over King's Lynn Town with Newcastle loan manager Shola Ameobi watching on.

Although Cass is set to stay at Pools for the remainder of the current campaign, his long term ambitions remain firmly on Tyneside.

“I came out on loan to grow up and mature as a person and as a player,” he told the Sunday Sun.

“I wanted that responsibility of getting results and doing my job for my manager and for my team-mates. I want to use this season to go back to Newcastle and show that I am a better player than the one that was sent out.

“I want to prove myself and that might mean with another loan next season, which I know could happen.

“The ultimate goal is to do everything I can to challenge for a place in the first-team squad and show the manager that I am ready to do that.”

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