Carl Magnay says Hartlepool United pulling off ANOTHER great escape would mean everything to him and the squad.
Pools face Doncaster Rovers at the Northern Gas & Power Stadium tomorrow evening knowing they must win to give themselves any hope of staying in the Football League.
Managerless Pools have slipped to second bottom after a winless sequence of eight matches.
Second-bottom Pools need to beat high-fliers Rovers and hope Notts County either win or draw at third-bottom Newport.
Magnay, who will line up in defence tomorrow, says the squad know exactly what tomorrow night means for club and town.
“It would mean everything, obviously,” said the 28-year-old.
“We are aware as players of all the stuff out there.
“We know how disappointed our fans were at the last game.
“We’re aware of the history of the club – we know it’s never been outside the Football League.
“As players, we’ve got personal pride – you absolutely do not want to be part of a side that takes Hartlepool United out of the Football League for the first time in its history.
“We’re aware of the good people who work at the club behind the scenes, or at least I hope the lads are.
“Jobs could be at risk, livelihoods. I hope that’s ingrained in everybody’s minds and our performance reflects that against Doncaster.
“As a footballer, you can have bad days, performance-wise, but you should always give 100%.
“Tomorrow is an occasion where there isn’t an option of giving any less than that.
“I hope as individuals, and as a group, we are full aware of what this means to everyone.”
Magnay says that the team must “represent” the fans and the people of Hartlepool properly, not just in the Sky Sports-televised match against the title challengers, but in the future, whatever the division.
The side gave every last ounce of effort in last week’s battling 1-0 defeat at Cheltenham, so why has it taken until now for it to happen?
“It’s not something we’ve talked about as a group,” said the defender. “But it’s something where you go away and think ‘why have we allowed it to get to this stage until that sort of effort goes in?’.
“It had to be reinforced week-in, week-out, that it doesn’t matter what stage of the season we’re in. As a footballer, you have to out and give 100%.
“I feel that, even at this level, we have a privileged lifestyle.
“You can see the passion from the fans – there are a lot of them who would give their left arm to play for Pools.
“Before every fixture you have to be aware of that, think of your surroundings, the people that love the club, what it means to them.
“You have to go and represent them properly.
“It’s a shame that it’s taken the situation we are in for us to maybe do that as a collective.
“It was there at Cheltenham and we were unfortunate not to win.”
Magnay was probably too polite to mention that the main reason for Pools’ predicament was the near-total breakdown of the relationship between the squad and former manager Dave Jones.
The wheels had fallen off at basement club Leyton Orient, where Pools lost 2-1, but no action was taken until a pathetic 2-0 ‘effort’ against Barnet.
Jones was fired in the aftermath with Matthew Bates, Billy Paynter, Stuart Parnaby and Ian Gallagher installed as the temporary management group.
While Magnay did not point any fingers in the direction of Jones, he was happy to pat Bates on he back for how he has transformed the mood in the club.
“With any new manager there’s always a change, a different slant on things,” said the former Chelsea defender. “We know Batesy and Billy really well.
“They can relate to us as people and that’s helped a lot.
“That has helped with our attitude and application to training and the game we’ve had with him.
“I thought Batesy got it spot on with his game-plan.
“It’s been a nice refreshing change.
“It maybe should have come a little bit sooner – we did not want it coming down to the last day.
“But it has and we have to use the positive energy we’ve got from Batesy and Billy and apply it at the weekend.”