How Hartlepool’s clash with Carlisle is already a ‘massive’ match-up

STRONG WORDS: Michael Duckworth
STRONG WORDS: Michael Duckworth

MICHAEL Duckworth wasn’t mincing his words when describing the “massive” match this weekend between strugglers Hartlepool United and Carlisle United.

Pools are third bottom in Sky Bet League Two, with just eight points from their opening 10 league fixtures.

They sit just two points above Keith Curle’s Carlisle but the Cumbrians confidence has been boosted after they picked up their first win of the season.

While Pools were held to a goalless draw at home to Portsmouth on Saturday, Carlisle collected all three points by beating Tranmere Rovers 1-0.

The importance of this weekend’s fixture at Victoria Park isn’t lost on Duckworth, who has just returned to the side after a hamstring injury.

“Carlisle at home is a massive game and one we need three points from,” said the 22-year-old defender.

“We need that to give us a big boost.

“A draw against Portsmouth was a good result, although I felt we could have got all three out of the game.

“We need to take that into the Carlisle game this weekend and look to win the match.”

Colin Cooper’s side have looked solid, at least, in the last three home matches with a 2-0 win over Shrewsbury Town followed by consecutive goalless draws against Tranmere and then Pompey.

But goalscoring remains a massive problem and one that needs resolving quickly.

Duckworth said his side is working to resolve that on the training ground this week ahead of the second of three consecutive home fixtures for Pools.

Sheffield United are the visitors next Tuesday in the second round of the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy.

Duckworth admits it is a relief to have a string of games on home soil after some long away trips already this season to Wimbledon, Cheltenham, Northampton Town and Plymouth Argyle in recent weeks.

The right-back added: “The home form has been solid and not conceding has been good, but we need to score goals to win games.

“We will focus on that this week and look to get three points this weekend.

“Not travelling and playing at home is a boost for us.

“To play in front of our home fans, who got behind us on Saturday, is great.

“We felt like we were the better team against Portsmouth and hopefully over the next couple of game we can get some good results.”

“That is the aim.”