Hartlepool United boss keen to continue unbeaten run against frontrunners

Hartlepool United boss Craig Harrison.
Hartlepool United boss Craig Harrison.

Hartlepool United today start what could be one of their most pivotal weeks of the season.

Pools play host to Dagenham & Redbridge this afternoon, the first of a sequence against the top three teams in the National League.

Often in boxing there is talk of career-defining fights and these eight days has that feel to it for Pools.

You could argue, with some justification, that every match is vital, no matter who is in the ‘opposite corner’.

However, the next three fixtures have crucial written all over them.

Pools face leaders Dagenham & Redbridge today and on Tuesday visit red-hot Wrexham, currently third, before travelling to second-placed Leyton Orient next Saturday.

Nothing, of course, is decided so early in the season, but how Pools fare could indicate just how good a chance the side have of going up. Or not.

Harrison pointed out that we are only eight games into a 46-match campaign or more of course should Pools require a journey to Wembley.

However, these are the form teams and Pools must be able to compete as the manager acknowledges.

And the former Middlesbrough and Palace defender says Pools will concentrate on being at their best rather than being fazed by what position in the division their opponents are.

“We have to make sure we are right,” said Harrison, who is seeking to extend his team’s unbeaten run.

“Do that and play like we can and we will be very, very competitive.

“Consistency is the key now - an unbeaten run pushes us well and truly up the league.

“Next week is not the be-all and end-all though we will go out there to win the next three games, no question about it, we’d love to get maximum points.”

Pools do go into this afternoon’s scrap with the Daggers in good heart.

The 1-0 win at Guiseley was backs-to-the-wall stuff, but last Saturday’s 3-1 victory over Maidstone was as good as it’s been at the Vic for some time.

“The last two games have been a real, solid cornerstone for us,” said the 39-year-old, who explained that the club had not stopped believing despite the poor stat to the season.

“The squad and staff always had the belief that we were not far off.

“Aside from Fylde, which was not good enough, I didn’t think we’d been too bad.

“Yes it could have been better but I think we’d probably deserved to get a few more.

“But we’ve got the monkey off our back now and psychologically it has been good.

“If you are a professional footballer, then you are a good player, so probably 80% is in the head, so the results have probably given us more confidence and licence to be a bit more productive and enjoy the game that bit more.

“There was a bit of tenseness at the start of the season, maybe that comes with the expectation of being Hartlepool United, but back-to-back wins have got us up and running.”