Matthew Bates has called upon Hartlepool United’s fans to “get behind the team” as he takes Pools into tomorrow’s relegation six-pointer at Cheltenham.
Supporters vented their fury last weekend at the team, manager and chairman as Pools slumped to a 2-0 home defeat to Barnet.
That lifeless display, together with Newport’s win over Accrington, saw Pools drop into the bottom two for the first time this season.
There are numerous permutations in the scrap for Football League survival, but Pools could go down tomorrow if they draw or lose at Whaddon Road and County win at Carlisle.
Bates, who has teamed up with club captain Billy Paynter, Stuart Parnaby and Ian Gallagher to take charge of the squad following the sacking of Dave Jones, accepts the display against the Bees was a “shambles”.
But he says the fans have a vital role to play on a day when hundreds are expected to attend in fancy dress, as French mime artists.
We’re in a mini-league and we have two massive games which could decide this club’s futureMATTHEW BATES
“Our fans will be massive for us,” said the defender.
“Listen, I can understand the frustration, last Saturday was a shambles, it wasn’t good enough.
“I know it’s hard for fans, I’m a fan myself, it’s not easy to get behind the team when the side is not playing well.
“All I’d ask is ‘get behind us for these two games’, we’re in a mini-league and we have two massive games which could decide this club’s future.”
Bates says Pools can take some inspiration from the Great Escape two years ago when they survived the drop, ironically at the expense of the Robins.
“It’s difficult to try to relate to it, this is a different situation to then,” he said.
“But if we did it then, we can do it now.”