Hartlepool Utd need to ‘stick their chests out’ at Plymouth Argyle

Jonathan Franks  in action against Northampton Town. Picture by FRANK REID

Jonathan Franks in action against Northampton Town. Picture by FRANK REID

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BIG characters are needed for Hartlepool United’s weekend trip to Plymouth Argyle according to Jonathan Franks, writes RICHARD MENNEAR.

Pools go into the Sky Bet League Two fixture on the back of a crushing 5-1 defeat at Northampton Town at the Sixfields Stadium on Tuesday.

Chris Wilder’s side were full value for the comprehensive win and, in truth, it could have been even heavier given the shoddy defending from Colin Cooper’s side.

It was the second time this season that Pools have conceded five or more, the first was just a few weeks ago when they lost 6-2 at Port Vale in the Capital One Cup.

A worrying trend. Despite taking an early lead against Town through Charlie Wyke’s composed finish, Pools then collapsed.

Franks, who started the match up front alongside Wyke, said the players have to “stick their chests” out and make sure they come away from Argyle on Saturday with something.

Defeat on Tuesday left Pools languishing in 21st spot in League Two after three defeats in the league already away from home.

Argyle on Saturday will prove an equally tough test.

Franks told SportMail: “We have to stick our chests out, with everybody putting in 100 per cent and make sure we don’t get beat.

“We have to come away from Plymouth with something.”

Franks admitted the heavy defeat at Northampton was almost harder to take than the thrashing at Port Vale because it was a league game.

He added: “Luckily we have a game Saturday and the aim is to put things right then.

“It is a little harder to take because this was a league game – our bread and butter.

“We have to make the most of that trip to Plymouth at the weekend.”

On a personal note, Franks favours playing through the middle and he is pleased to be getting a run in the side up front.

But the former Boro Academy graduate knows his side cannot defend like they did on Tuesday night again.

“I am pleased to be in the team and playing up front,” Franks told SportMail.

“Against Northampton we started well and got the early goal.

“The way the game went, it was just a matter of putting 100 per cent in and work hard and hopefully something would fall for me.

“Unfortunately nothing really fell, apart from a few half chances.”

Reflecting on the game, Franks added: “First-half we could have come in level at 2-2 or maybe 3-2, but it wasn’t to be.

“That next goal was always going to be crucial and if we got it anything could have happened.

“But we didn’t and didn’t really get started in the second-half.

“It was just poor defending really.”