Hartlepool United’s players could be playing for their own futures as well the club’s over the final 10 matches of the season.
Boss Dave Jones admitted he was “angry” after seeing Pools lose again away from home.
It doesn’t matter whether they were top, bottom, wherever, it’s a game we should have got something fromDAVE JONES
Saturday’s 2-1 set-back at Notts County was the fifth successive away defeat under the new manager, a stark contrast to the form at the Norther Gas & Power Stadium, where they are unbeaten in five!
“You either change the mentality or you change the players,” was the blunt assessment of Jones.
His squad is too small to alter significantly now, though that sanction is open to him at the end of the season.
After an even first half at Notts County, Pools were sunk by two second-half goals from Shola Ameobi and Jorge Grant.
Pools pulled one back 12 minutes from time thanks to an own goal, but it was too little, too late.
The worst aspect about the result was it lifted the Magpies, relegation rivals of Pools, up to 19th and dropped Jones’s men to 22nd, just one spot above the drop zone.
“It doesn’t matter whether they were top, bottom, wherever, it’s a game we should have got something from,” he said. “We didn’t.
“In my time here that’s a few times I’ve said that away from home.
“How do you change that? You either change the mentality or you change the players.”
It was the 10th defeat in the last 12 League Two games, a woeful record stretching back to the last away win ... on October 1.
“It’s got to stop,” said Jones, who takes his side to Cambridge tomorrow night for another tough fixture.
“Last week two wins on the trot were being celebrated, that’s not what I’m about.
“We had an opportunity today to get some points and we didn’t take it, that’s why I’m so angry with them.
“We’ve been down here too long, so the mentality has to change.
“That’s why the chairman has brought me here, to give the club a different mentality.
“It’s ingrained here, hopefully we can change that.
“You have seen different performances but within that, you can’t keep switching off at vital times in the game.”
Jones refused to use the absence of Brad Walker as an excuse for the weekend defeat after the midfielder-turned-defender was ruled out with an ankle injury.
“We adapted to it,” said Jones, who is hopeful Walker will be fit to face the U’s. “When you have an injury it gives a chance to someone else.
“I thought the three at the back did very well.
“We had to change it, we lost Brad, Kav and Batesy, but the lads who played there did well.
“We were in control there, they had a big side and they just kept launching it forward but we did well with all that.”
Jones instead pointed the finger at individual mistakes.
“Certain individuals switch off and it costs goals,” he said.