Heart to Heart with Hartley

ARGYLE’S fifth signing of the summer Peter Hartley has spoken about his excitement in joining the Pilgrims.

“I was obviously delighted to make the move,” he said. “It’s a massive club; look at the stadium, look at the city.”

The 26 year old centre-back has penned a two-year contract at Home Park following his departure from Stevenage at the end of last season.

Having already racked up well over 150 league appearances for his home side Hartlepool United, the defender moved to Hertfordshire and played 31 times in Stevenage’s Sky Bet League 1 campaign.

With Argyle’s manager John Sheridan saying on numerous occasions last season that he wanted talkers on the pitch, the fact that, even by his own reckoning, Hartley is a vocal player, must have been a big factor before making the signing.

“I spoke to the manager a couple of weeks ago now and I was taken in by his desire to want to go places with this club,” he said.

“When he said he wanted me to jump on board, I couldn't wait.

“I understand the manager loves his football and is very passionate, so it’ll suit me right down to the ground.”

“[The club] definitely doesn't deserve to be where it is and I hope I can contribute to the rise of the football club in the near future.”

With Neal Trotman and Maxime Blanchard both leaving Home Park in June, defensive players were very much a priority for John Sheridan, and Peter definitely fits the bill. Not only has he played at a higher level, he has also captained his boyhood club on a number of occasions, backing up the claim that he is a co-ordinator, as well as a talker.
“I’m a centre-half who is quite vocal, so I think I could suit the manager down to the ground,” he said. “That is one of my strengths; I’m a good organizer, on and off the pitch.

“Even when I am not captain, I see myself as a good organiser. I like to say I wear the armband without wearing it.

“It could benefit people if you've got an organiser around you; it makes everyone’s job easier.”

Hartley’s first taste of League 2 action at Home Park for Hartley will, of course, be the 99th Devon Expressway Derby, when Exeter City travel down the A38 on August 16, and the former Hartlepool man is relishing the clash – which come days before previous club Stevenage visit Home Park.

He said: “It’ll be a cracking atmosphere - what a way to start the season.

“If you get the win first game of the season against Cambridge and then you come home and play Exeter, the place will be buzzing.”

The 26-year-old joins Lee Cox, Deane Smalley, Reuben Reid and fellow defender Carl McHugh as Argyle’s new boys this season and he is itching to get the pre-season started.

“It’ll be nice to get to meet the boys,” he said.

“We’ve had a long break now, so you get all excited, like a little kid, and getting the hard work out the way is going to be good.”