Hartlepool Utd wil pass their way out of relegation zone at MK Dons

Ritchie Humphreys
Ritchie Humphreys
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RITCHIE Humphreys insists Hartlepool United are right to try to pass their way out of trouble.

Pools go into tomorrow’s contest between promotion challengers and relegation battlers seemingly marooned at the bottom on nine points.

They are 21 points from safety and 27 behind MK Dons, who start very warm favourites for another home win tomorrow.

But Humphreys, who had an excellent game against Stevenage last weekend, says the Pools squad are buying into the passing philosophy of boss John Hughes.

Pools could be excused for simply lumping the ball forward into opposition territory and look to see what they can pick up from there.

However, the bottom of the table side are going to do it the Hughes way.

“You saw last Saturday that he likes to get people in off the line and coming short to get the pass,” Humphreys told SportMail.

“He’s looking to get good movement and that should create chances.

“Short, sharp passing and movement should make angles that we can look to exploit.

“Last Saturday we weren’t just passing for the sake of doing it.

“It’s done for a reason and that is to try to open up gaps and create chances.

“If and when we do that then it’s up to us to stick some away.”

Pools have scored twice in four games under Hughes, but there was certainly a step up in quality of display even if they did not have the luck in front of goal.

“Each manager is different and they have their methods and philosophies,” said the 35-year-old.

“He is trying to instil confidence in the lads to go out and express themselves more.

“The effort and commitment is there and now we’re looking to take the work and the improvements we have made into matchday.”

Pools have performed well in recent seasons at stadium:mk – they have come away with a couple of goalless draws and last time there they were denied three points when the Dons scored a last-gasp leveller.

And on their previous televised visit their 1-0 defeat was an unlucky one as the referee denied Pools a stonewall penalty after Antony Sweeney was brought down.

“We’ve actually acquitted ourselves well at their ground,” said Humphreys.

“But whether it’s by playing well or playing badly, it’s about us now trying to get a result.

“We have improved and trained well and it’s hopefully about getting the graft we have put in on the training ground and onto the field.”

The midfielder is full of admiration for the Dons and boss Karl Robinson.

”MK Dons are one of the best in the division and have been for a while,” he said.

“They play a good style of football and like to pass the ball around.

“For me, probably only Brighton have matched them for style but unfortunately for them, the last couple of seasons they have not been able to get promoted.

“It’s a challenge for us but one we will relish as players pitting our wits against some of the better players in League One.”