Hartlepool United’s young guns have shown they have the fighting spirit to get the side out of trouble.
That was the view of boss Dave Jones after Pools suffered back-to-back away defeats at promotion-chasing sides when they went down 3-0 at Luton Town last night.
I’ve said it already, more than once since I came here, technically, they are really good playersDAVE JONES
After sending out a team with an average age of just 23, it looked like being a disastrous night when the Hatters went into a two-goal lead inside the first 13 minutes through Danny Hylton and Luke Gambin.
Thereafter, Pools performed with great credit and it needed a fortuitous late goal from sub Ollie Palmer to put the game to bed after an improved second-half display from the visitors who pushed the high-fliers back on their heels.
Despite another promotion candidate coming to the Northern Gas &Power Stadium on Saturday, Plymouth Argyle, Jones can see cause for optimism.
“If we can now get that every week then we are halfway there,” said Jones.
“I’ve said it already, more than once since I came here, technically, they are really good players.
“After the first 15 minutes when it looked like it might be a rout, the team dug in.
“The players grew in confidence and they started to pass it and we had a few chances and half-chances.
“We were a bit unlucky not to get any reward.
“It’s hard because you are having to play a lot of kids in a division which is very tough, but they did very well.
“If you’d missed the first 15 minutes and arrived late, you’d have been hard pressed to say who was the team in fourth.”
After sinking without trace at Mansfield at the weekend for the second awayday in a row, pride was certainly restored at Kenilworth Road.
Pools had barely had a shot at either Newport or Field Mill but last night they put the Hatters under pressure.
“What I saw was a group of lads who cared,” he said.
“I think at 2-0 after 15 minutes our fans were ready to have a pop.
“But they saw that gradually we got into it and that our players worked their socks off.
“We ran, we chased, we worked really hard and worried a team fourth in the table.
“I have nothing but praise for the boys.
“We do have to learn and learn quickly, but while we can be disappointed with the result, the performance after the first 15 minutes was one we can take something from.
“You can’t give a team fighting to get out of the division a two-goal start.
“But we settled down got into our rhythm and we’ve dominated the second half.
“The thing is when you do that you need to score goals.
“We just lacked that bit of luck in front of goal.”