Hartlepool keeper Trevor Carson’s return is a real positive

Cheltenham's Danny Wright heads past Pools keeper  Trevor Carson.
Cheltenham's Danny Wright heads past Pools keeper Trevor Carson.

Positives have been few and far between for Hartlepool United over recent weeks - but there was a big one at Whaddon Road.

After four months out injured, stopper Trevor Carson returned for Pools as they fell to a 1-0 defeat against Cheltenham Town.

The stopper was initially projected to miss 20 weeks, effectively ruling him out of the entire of this season.

But with Pools deep in relegation trouble, Carson made himself available although still not fully fit.

“With the circumstances I rushed myself back,” he said.

“I didn’t expect to be back playing so soon.

“Northern Ireland have a qualifier on June 10 and I ruled myself out for that so to be back playing now was never planned.

“It’s still niggly and not 100% but it’s so frustrating sitting watching and not being able to affect it.”

In an encounter dominated by Pools, the Northern Irish international’s only real act of the game was to pick the ball out of the net after Danny Wright nodded home on 18 minutes.

He was relatively untroubled for the rest of the game, and praised the performance of the back four in front of him for keeping the Robins’ attacking threat to a minimum.

“It was a comfortable afternoon which says a lot about the lads in front of me and their desire and commitment,” said the stopper.

“I don’t think they had a shot on goal or on target, as an attacking threat they were non-existent.”

The lack of Cheltenham pressure left Carson untested during the early stages, and the keeper said he would have appreciated a few more early touched to get into the swing of the game.

“I haven’t played in four months and had jelly legs in the first thirty minutes so I wanted something to get into the game,” he admitted.

“But it’s not about me, it’s about the team.

“If you take the result away, I think the fans appreciated our commitment and desire at the end of the game.

“Unfortunately we lacked that bit of quality at times to stick the ball in the back of the net.”

And the lack of goals that Carson alludes to has definitely thwarted Pools this season.

Only five sides in League Two have scored less than the 52 netted by the North East side, and Carson said failure to find the back of the net is what his side are missing.

“It’s just one of those seasons where you’re scratching your head wondering how the ball isn’t going into the back of the net,” he added.

“We don’t get scrappy 1-0 wins like that, and that’s what we’re missing.

“We’re missing that winning mentality and next week is our last chance.

“Hopefully a few of them will go in for us next weekend.”

As well as the return of Carson, another big positive was the 704-strong travelling support that descended on Cheltenham dressed as mime artists.

“The fans were amazing from the warm-up,” said Carson.

They were unbelievable and out-sang the Cheltenham fans.

“Their appreciation for us at the end and our appreciation for them says it all. You can see the togetherness and we’re very grateful for it.

“Unfortunately we couldn’t give them a point or three points to go home with and we apologise for that.”

The fans will surely be out in force again as title-chasing Doncaster Rovers visit the Northern Gas and Power Stadium in a do-or-die encounter next weekend.

On paper it perhaps looks a foregone conclusion, but Carson knows nothing is cut and dry in this league.

“Its League Two - anyone can beat anyone,” he said.

“We have to pick ourselves up again, and we’ll dust ourselves down and get ready for last chance saloon on Saturday.

“There’s literally no more chances after next week.

“We need things to go for us and we need to do the business ourselves.”