JACK Baldwin admits that Hartlepool United’s players have been floored by the slump which sees them embroiled in an early-season relegation scrap.
Pools – beaten 1-0 at home to Crawley Town on Saturday – travel to Bury tomorrow night knowing that defeat will send them to the bottom of League One.
Baldwin maintains that one win will spark an upturn in fortunes, but the 19-year-old concedes that morale and confidence have taken a hit in recent weeks.
“The sooner we get out of this the happier I’ll be,” he told SportMail.
“I feel like I’m a local lad now and it hurts – I hate losing.
“But it’s a tough time because confidence is low.
“Morale is low for everyone.
“Some of the older pros might have been in this before but for us younger ones we want out of this situation as soon as possible – it’s not nice.”
Baldwin continued: “If we get that one win then we can get a bit of momentum and spirits will lift.
“It’s all about confidence.
“When I was growing up I wasn’t the most confident footballer.
“I realised that it does affect your performance on the pitch.
“And that’s even more so at this level, you need to believe that if you go out as a striker you’re going to score one or two goals.
“We all need to get that belief back and this is a huge game for us tomorrow night.”
Baldwin, like boss Neale Cooper, was frustrated with his side’s lack of a cutting edge at the weekend.
Only a handful of half-chances were fashioned as Pools sought a reply to Hope Akpan’s 14th-minute opener.
And Baldwin went on: “For their goal he caught it well and it’s flown into the bottom corner – on another day that flies wide or over the bar.
“We’re just missing that bit of luck right now.
“It was a bit better in the second half.
“We went a bit more direct.
“We still create but that sharpness is lacking.
“Other teams look dangerous and make us work at the back.
“We don’t have that threat inside their penalty area.
“We need to read how Steve (Howard) plays a bit better.
“We need more end product – be it a shot or cross or pass.”