‘It’s time to prove the doubters wrong’, says Hartlepool United defender Jake Carroll

Jake Carroll in action against Stamford

Jake Carroll in action against Stamford

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Full-back Jake Carroll believes now is the time for Hartlepool United to prove their doubters wrong.

Pools have come in for a fair bit of criticism in recent weeks, having lost three League Two games on the bounce and slid to within a point of the fourth tier drop zone.

The teams we have played lately will know we won’t be at the bottom by the end of the season in May.

But, having managed to get back to winning ways this weekend, thanks to a 3-0 victory over Stamford in the FA Cup first round, Carroll thinks that now is the time for Pools to prove to everyone, just how good they can be.

Because the defender has revealed that no one in the Pools dressing-room ever doubted the fact things would eventually come good at the Northern Gas & Power Stadium.

“We know we are a good side,” said Carroll.

“Maybe some people from the outside are focussing on what is behind us.

“They are maybe looking just at results and at the table, but that is only half the story.

“If you take performances into account we should be nowhere near the bottom.

“But we are not even looking at it from the perspective of relegation.

“We still think we are only a few points off the promotion race. That is the way we have to look at it.

“We are looking upwards.

“We know we are just one or two wins off the teams at the top end of the table.”

There is a blind faith within the Pools ranks that they are much better than their league position suggests.

And Carroll believes that no player who has shared a pitch with Craig Hignett’s men this season will truly think Pools will be one of the two teams that drop out of the Football League come May.

He said: “The teams we have played will know, just like we do.

“The teams we have played lately will know we won’t be at the bottom by the end of the season in May.

“The players who we have faced know how good we are, even if they have beaten us or got a result against us.

“Anyone who knows, who has seen us lately, will know we are too good to be at the bottom.

“And we know things will turn around in time.

“We have that faith that we are a good side.

“Wins in the league will come. And maybe we can take confidence from hopefully two cup wins on the bounce.”

Carroll could be one player who is dropped for Wednesday night’s Checkatrade Trophy clash with Rochdale.

With the match meaning little to either time, given that the visitors to the Vic in midweek are already through and Pools already out, Hignett could use the match to give a few fringe players the chance to shine.

As a result a few of the lads who have been playing week-in, week-out, including Carroll could be given a rest, especially with league action returning at the weekend.

Whether he plays or not Carroll thinks the Pools squad can take a huge amount of confidence from the cup result.

And the biggest plus was the fact Pools kept a rare clean sheet, stopping the rot which has seen them ship nine goals in the previous three games.

Carroll said: “We knew we had to get it right at the back.

“That’s what we needed to sort out.

“We all accept things hadn’t been anywhere near good enough in that department in the league.

“We had our meetings and cleared the air. Now everyone knows what they need to do.

“As a team we need to move on from the defeats and put a run together.

“We can take confidence from the cup games.”