NOW is not the time for quiet characters inside the Hartlepool United dressing room, with captain Scott Flinders urging them to find their voice.
Pools host Wimbledon at Victoria Park tomorrow knowing three points is a must if they are to kick-start their survival hopes.
It is the business end of the season now so we need the quiet lads to start being bubbly in themselves.Pools captain Scott Flinders
Eight points from safety with less than a third of the season left, the task facing Pools is grim.
Flinders is all too aware of the precarious situation and is calling on the more experienced players to help the younger professionals through this tough time.
The likes of Neil Austin, Sam Collins, Marlon Harewood and Flinders himself were, of course, all involved in last season’s dramatic escape from relegation.
What appeared to be a relatively comfortable season in mid-table suddenly turned sour with six straight defeats which plummeted Pools towards the drop-zone until a 2-1 win over Morecambe saved them.
Flinders told SportMail: “It is the business end of the season now so we need the quiet lads to start being bubbly in themselves.
“We can’t have quiet people in there now.
“A couple of the lads in the dressing room have been in this situation before including the horrible situation we got ourselves in last season.
“We are in deeper trouble now, of course, but the experienced lads really need to give the younger lads a positive attitude to take into the next 14 games and see what the outcome is.
“The manager is a bubbly person and has a great spark about him and that helps.
“He takes no prisoners and after Stevenage he had a few people out.
“But that is what football is about – it is a man’s game and we won’t sulk.
“He certainly keeps the players on their toes,” added the 28-year-old stopper.
While Pools are still struggling to string together a consistent run of results, performances have certainly improved since Moore took charge towards the end of last year.
Flinders believes having a settled back-four in front of him is also helping him, with the gloveman the star performer in the defeat to Bury.
For the past three matches, the defence has consisted of Michael Duckworth, Scott Harrison, on-loan David Mirfin and Austin.
“As a keeper I feel more comfortable with a settled back four in front of me,” added Flinders.
“Don’t get me wrong, Dan Jones did a brilliant job in there but having the experience of Mirf has certainly helped us.
“He reminds me of Sam [Collins] a lot, towards the end of last season when he came back into the side.
“It is good to have his experience in the back four and Ducky and Scotty will only improve by playing alongside him.”