Michael Woods: Strongest Hartlepool United team in years must take advantage of weak League Two

Michael Woods.
Michael Woods.
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League Two is weaker than it was last year, according to Michael Woods.

And the midfielder thinks the strongest Hartlepool United team in years must start to take advantage of that.

Pools have had a difficult season to date, dropping a number of points from winning positions which has seen them nestled in the middle of the fourth tier, instead of in the play-off mix.

But a win over Accrington in midweek, put them right back in touch, just four points off seventh place.

And in a weakened division, Woods thinks the best team he has seen in his time at the Northern Gas & Power Stadium, should be right up there.

He said: “This is not as strong a league as it was last year.

“I don’t think there have been that many teams who have come here that have been brilliant.

“The Northampton and Oxfords of this world were excellent. There is nothing like that this year.

“I have not come away from any game saying ‘they were a good side’.

“If you look back at the highlights you see how we cause our own problems.

“That makes it even more frustrating, especially when you look at the league table.

“It is the strongest squad I have known since I came to this club.

“The performances have been good. But that is no good because the results have not been there.

“We don’t get paid to play well, we get paid to get results.”

Woods says he’s up for the scrap of regaining his place in the team.

Having made his return to the starting XI in the cup games against Stamford and Rochdale, following a long-term injury, Woods has since dropped back onto Pools’ bench.

And while he is frustrated with the lack of gametime, he understands just why Craig Hignett may have seen fit to change things up.

That’s because Woods is certain, this Pools team is the by far and away the best one constructed in his time at the club.

“Competition keeps everyone on their toes,” he said.

“The lads who have got the shirts have been performing well.

“It is a difficult team to get into and stay in.”

One thing Pools have had to adapt to in recent weeks has been the lack of pace, craft and goals of Nathan Thomas out wide.

Woods believes any team, at this level at least, would miss the former Sunderland youngster.

“On his day he is the best player in the league, I have no doubt about that,” he said.

“He is very difficult to replace.

“We have had to adapt. The gaffer has put Devs (Nicky Deverdics) out there in the last few and he has done well coming in off the left. It gives us a different option.

“It is down to others to step up now.

“We can’t rely on one man to get results.”