Hartlepool United boss demands clean sheet at Dagenham & Redbridge

Hartlepool United manager Ronnie Moore during their 2-1 away victory over Yeovil Town. Picture by Pinnacle Photo Agency
Hartlepool United manager Ronnie Moore during their 2-1 away victory over Yeovil Town. Picture by Pinnacle Photo Agency
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A clean sheet would be welcome

Ronnie Moore plans to put his arm around his defenders rather than give them a boot up the backside.

But his final message will be the same: Go and keep a clean sheet at Dagenham & Redbridge tomorrow (kick-off 3pm).

Pools are not in dire straits and it’s too early to be labelling tomorrow’s confrontation at Victoria Road as a six-pointer.

However, the outcome of tomorrow’s match against the struggling Daggers is crucial if Pools are to move from the lower reaches of the table into the top half again.

Moore’s side follow a trip to the EastEnd with home matches against Barnet (21st) and Crawley (18th).

“We’ve got three games in a week all against teams below us and we have to make sure they stay below us,” he said.

“A clean sheet would be welcome, three would be unbelievable. Fingers crossed that will happen.

“If we keep a clean sheet we are capable of nicking one or two goals.

“Dagenham is one we want a performance from, a clean sheet more than anything.”

Those two words, ‘clean sheet’, dominated Moore’s thoughts but is trying a different tack to get there.

He and assistant, Sam Collins, have drummed into the players in training at Maiden Castle what they want and Moore hopes they will now carry that onto the field.

“I hoping I’m not going to have to talk about the back four again this season,” he said. “It’s about time they take on board what we want and just go and do what they do here [at the training ground] and do it week-in and week-out.

“It’s been a case of when the curtain opens up they are a bag of nerves on stage.

“It’s important we get through the first 15 to 20 minutes when we are not chasing the game.

“They need an arm around the shoulder, they’ve had the size nine a lot.

“I’m a football manager but I need to be a psychologist as well.”

Psychology could be key to Pools turning it around.

If the Pools players believe in themselves it is a match they should be winning, or certainly not losing.

Scoring goals has not been an issue for the Daggers - only twice this season have they failed to find the opposition net.

But if Pools fans think they are leaking too many goals, they should put themselves in the Dageham’s shoes, no club in the Football League has conceded more.

“We’ve had them watched against Mansfield, when it was goals galore and they lost 4-3,” said Moore.

“We watched them against Yeovil last week when they were cruising but gave away sloppy goals.

“We know what they are capable of going forward but we also know there is a little weakness or two there.

“We must look to exploit that but we have to turn our weakness into a strength and try to kick on.

“Would you take a 0-0 now?

“But I have no doubt we can score, the most important thing is we keep that clean sheet.

“That would be fantastic.”