Hartlepool United must tackle must-win Barnet game with total commitment

Carl Magnay makes his presence felt in Pools' 2-1 defeat at Leyton Orient on Monday. Picture by Frank Reid
Carl Magnay makes his presence felt in Pools' 2-1 defeat at Leyton Orient on Monday. Picture by Frank Reid

What a time to come back into the team!

When Carl Magnay was plotting his return to the football field, the last thing he probably envisaged was a fight for survival at Hartlepool United.

If you are not a tackler, you are going to have to tackle, if you don’t usually like putting your head in, you are going to have to put your head in

CARL MAGNAY

However, that’s what Pools are embroiled in, with Magnay at the heart of it.

The 28-year-old was not expected to play again this season, having ruptured knee ligaments against Mansfield last September.

But he is back and, in the nick of time, given the team need every experienced head and battler if they are to avoid the drop into the National League.

Magnay, who made his return to the starting XI at Leyton Orient on Monday, is ready to roll up his sleeves again tomorrow in the must-win game against Barnet at the Northern Gas & Power Stadium.

“Yes, it’s not an easy situation to come back into, having been injured for so long,” he told SportMail.

“Ideally, I’d rather not be involved in three massive games, I’d have liked easier matches, but I’m 100% ready for it.”

Magnay says while it is a big ask to go from a long absence into a relegation tussle, he is up for the battle and is well aware of the “responsibility” on his shoulders.

“Absolutely,” he said. “Of course I do.

“I know I’m at the stage when I’m not a kid any more. I’m 28. I am a senior player.

“I know I have to show responsibility, I have to be a leader, I have to be a voice.

“The last few weeks when I’ve been back in the squad and in the dressing room, I’ve not been afraid to open my mouth.

“Some might agree, some might disagree, but we need more voices.

“I’ve been out for so long, but that does not mean that I wasn’t a part of what’s gone on.

“Whether you are injured or fit, you are still part of the squad.

“Just because I’m not out there on the pitch, it does not mean you are not accountable.”

Magnay played his part in the Pools side who pulled clear of trouble 12 months ago with a stunning spring run under Craig Hignett.

And the former Chelsea player says it’s frustrating that Pools find themselves at the wrong end of League Two again, lying just a single point above second-bottom Newport County.

But he assures fans that the squad are give it their all now under Dave Jones.

“It’s seems to be a recurring theme,” he said.

“Everything that has gone on before we can do nothing about.

“We don’t want to be in this position, but we are, and we have to convince the fans, and everyone connected with the club, that we are all behind each other.

“We have to absolute focus on these three games and do everything we can.”

Pools, without a win in six games, will start as favourites tomorrow against an out-of-sorts Barnet, who have won only one of their last 10 matches and sacked boss Kevin Nugent.

But it will be no walk in the park for the boys in blue, given the Bees are not shy of strong players, including 24-goal powerhouse John Akinde, as Magnay admits.

“They are a physical side,” said the right-back.

“Our squad is less so, but we have some good, technical footballers.

“But these last few games we have to show more.

“If you are not a tackler, you are going to have to tackle, if you don’t usually like putting your head in, you are going to have to put your head in.

“You are going to do the gritty, less glamorous traits.

“The fans have to see that we are giving everything to the cause.

“The supporters will react to a gesture after you’ve won a tackle or a corner or something like that.

“They want to see passion – that’s what we have to do.

“We’ve spoken as a group and I want to assure the fans we are doing everything we can.

“If we give 100%, I’m absolutely confident we can get the win.”

Admission prices have been slashed at the Vic tomorrow, with entry £10 (adults) and £5 (concessions).