Hartlepool United eye three festive ‘cup finals’ fixtures

Assistant boss Sam Collins (left) and manager Ronnie Moore in the Victoria Park dugout. Picture by Frank Reid
Assistant boss Sam Collins (left) and manager Ronnie Moore in the Victoria Park dugout. Picture by Frank Reid

THREE games inside nine days – it is a scenario which had disaster written all over it.

But following the takeover of Hartlepool United by TMH 2014 and the appointment of experienced manager Ronnie Moore, optimism has lifted above zero.

The three festive fixtures have ‘cup final’ feels to them – Oxford at home this afternoon, Mansfield away on Boxing Day and Morecambe at the Vic a week tomorrow.

After three days on the training ground with Moore and assistant boss Sam Collins, it will be hoped the players, who have under-performed with alarming regularity in 2014, will lift their game for the last 270 minutes of the year.

Six points had looked a mountain to climb but Collins believes it can be clawed back.

“There are still got 26 games to go, more than enough to turn it around,” said the 37-year-old.

“It is only six points and we have to be confident if we can string some results together then things can change very quickly.

“We’re coming into a good period at Christmas time, there are a lot of games coming up.

“The players have a point to prove to everyone, what’s happened has gone but it’s now up to them to show us they want to be in the team.

“Hopefully that will get us good results.”

Moore was happy to have Collins alongside him as his assistant when he took on the Pools job this week.

The Scouser spoke in glowing terms of the defender after his unveiling, saying Collins was the type of defender and leader the side were looking for.

Collins said: “The first thing Ronnie said to me when we met up was ‘I used to hate it when we played against you’.

“Ronnie said he’d go mad with his players when they would kick the ball my way and I’d head it clear.

“I’ve played against his teams many times over the years and while he may have shouted at a few of his players, his sides alway seem to have been successful.

“Ronnie’s a proper football man and his teams have always given everything they’ve got.

“That’s exactly what we need.”