Ex-Chelsea midfielder wants Hartlepool United to turn matches into cup finals

Michael Woods on the attack for Pools at Morecambe. Picture by FRANK REID
Michael Woods on the attack for Pools at Morecambe. Picture by FRANK REID

Hartlepool United must turn every game from now until the end of the season into a cup final.

Those were the words of experienced midfielder Michael Woods as Pools begin the final five fixtures of the season at home to Carlisle United tomorrow (kick-off 3pm).

Michael Woods takes on Morecambe in Pools' 1-1 draw last week. Picture by Frank Reid

Michael Woods takes on Morecambe in Pools' 1-1 draw last week. Picture by Frank Reid

Suggesting Pools turn the matches into cup finals may have the Northern Gas & Power Stadium faithful squirming given the record in knock-out football this season is abysmal – six games and five defeats.

But we know what Woodsy means, don’t we?

And he is quite right.

Pools could be as many as three wins away from Football League safety and what better way to do it than by completing an Easter double against Carlisle and crisis club Leyton Orient.

Everyone knows it’s in our own hands but it’s easy saying that, now it’s a case of doing it

MICHAEL WOODS

Dave Jones’s side have been playing some decent football, but now is the time for results, not pats on the back.

“It’s a massive weekend. Everyone knows how important it is,” said Woods.

“I sound like a bit of a parrot, but some of our performances have been really good.

“If we’d have been two or three up at half-time at Morecambe, I don’t think they could have had any arguments.

“But now, it’s about turning performances into results.

“Everyone knows it’s in our own hands, but it’s easy saying that, now it’s a case of doing it.

“It’s time to stop the talking and let our football do the talking for us.”

Woods admits there is a different feel around the Vic compared to the last real flirtation with the drop – the Great Escape two years ago.

Then, Pools spent the majority of the season in the bottom two before clawing their way out of it.

This time around, Pools have never been in the drop zone and, bar the recent 2-0 defeat to Portsmouth, have been in with a shout in every one of the last 10 games.

“If we were getting played off the park every Saturday, there would be cause for panic,” he said.

“But we have been playing well and now it’s about hitting the back of the net.

“Our home form has been pretty good.

“Portsmouth are probably the best side I’ve played this season and that was one of those games where you just have to hold up your hands and say you lost to the better team.

“Other than that, the results have been good, just look how well we did against Plymouth, who will get automatic promotion, and Exeter who are challenging for the play-offs.”

Woods has been in canny nick for Pools and says the midfield will be important figures tomorrow.

Pools have scored only three goals in the last five matches, with the recently-turned 27-year-old having a part in two of them, at Cambridge and Morecambe.

He is trumped by Lewis Alessandra and Padraig Amond, who have been in the thick of all three.

And Woods says it’s vital Amond gets possession in the box.

“I’ve enjoyed getting forward,” said the ex-Chelsea midfielder, who combined cleverly at the Globe Arena with Alessandra, who teed up Amond for his 14th goal of the campaign.

“We got into good positions at Morecambe without taking advantage, even in the second half when we were quieter than we were in the first.

“But we have to keep creating and give Podge [Amond] the chances to hit the back of the net.”