JONATHAN Franks believes too many of the Hartlepool United players are “hiding” after the club made it eight matches without a win.
Defeat to Morecambe at Victoria Park was Pools’ 15th in the league this season and it leaves them eight points from safety going into the New Year.
It is going to be a monumental effort from here to rescue the season and Franks admits the coming weeks and months will be a huge test of character.
Franks said: “Without naming names we need people who want the ball, who try and be positive when they get the ball instead of hiding.
“It is going to be really difficult to get out of this situation but it is a great test of character.
“Who has it and who doesn’t?”
Pools haven’t won in the league since the 2-1 victory over Exeter City back in early October, while the last win came in the FA Cup match against non-league East Thurrock United in November.
For large parts of the second-half against Morecambe Pools dominated the possession but couldn’t carve out enough clear chances to score – an all too familiar tale this campaign.
On several occasions Franks had beaten his man but was unable to pick out a team mate in the box and he said afterwards Pools were made to rue for not punishing Jim Bentley’s side when they were on top.
Franks, who has been enjoying a run in the side in recent weeks, said: “When we are on top we need to punish teams or we will get punished and that is what happened.
“We got told to put the ball down the sides of the three centre halves and we did to some extent but anything on their heads they just cleared.
“We need somebody to be brave and go and put the head on the ball.
“The lads are working hard – nobody is doubting that – but you have to be men and be brave to get the ball.”
Again the goals conceded were poor, Neil Austin failed to show Jack Redshaw down the line which gave him the opportunity to open the scoring by curling an effort past Scott Flinders.
Then for the second the defence were caught on their toes as Redshaw and Kevin Ellison combined before the former netted his second of the match with a low finish past Flinders.
Franks said: “We gifted them the two goals.
“For the first one we have to show the player down the line, he has come inside and will only put it one place in the far corner and it has gone in.
“The second was far too easy from our point of view to be broken down.
“It was 2-0 and game over.
“We are certainly pleased to see the back of 2014.
“Hopefully we can start 2015 with a win next Saturday against Wycombe.”