HARTLEPOOL UNITED 0 CHARLTON ATHLETIC 4

Adam Boyd flicks the ball on. Picture by FRANK REID

Adam Boyd flicks the ball on. Picture by FRANK REID

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MICK Wadsworth waited until March of last season before accusing some of his players of having already “packed their Speedos” ahead of a summer holiday.

Last Friday, in just the third week of October, he used a similar analogy, questioning whether an end-of-season break in Benidorm was the height of their ambition.

Nathan Luscombe plays the ball across the midfield. Picture by FRANK REID

Nathan Luscombe plays the ball across the midfield. Picture by FRANK REID

For, even at this early juncture, Wadsworth is evidently worried about the aspirations of his men.

The manager continues to carry the can for defeat – this a fifth in six matches – but deep down he knows his players owe him a turn.

Last week’s proposition was open and honest – do you share my desire to be part of something special?

Saturday’s opponents, Charlton Athletic, are the team against which Pools will conclude their campaign in May – Wadsworth still hopes it will be the final match before a play-off semi-final.

On the evidence of this meeting there’s more chance Pools will be attempting to pull off yet another final-day escape act, for Wadsworth admitted afterwards he was relieved his side already had 22 points in the bag.

Last season, following a similar slump, Pools managed to raise their game to defeat league leaders Brighton in November and set out on an unbeaten run which was to shoot them up the table, but there was no such rally this time around.

From the off Pools were flat – void of invention in the final third and shambolic at the back.

There was a change of personnel, there was a change of formation, there was even a change of dugout – everything else, however, remained the same.

In six-and-a-half hours of football at Victoria Park Pools have failed to score from open play, conceding 10 in that same period.

Read Craig Hope’s full match report on Pools’ home defeat to Charlton in today’s Sportmail.