NEIL Austin is absolute in his belief that Hartlepool United will escape relegation from League One.
Pools are bottom of the pile following their midweek defeat to Bury and without a manager following Neale Cooper’s resignation on Wednesday afternoon.
Austin, though, insists that the players themselves must shoulder the responsibility of the current plight, and he had a strong response when asked by SportMail if Pools can survive the drop to the fourth tier.
“We have got what it takes to get out of this, without a shadow of a doubt,” said the 29-year-old ahead of tomorrow’s trip to Brentford, for which Micky Barron will take charge of first-team affairs.
“We need to demand the best from each other and, at the same time, look at our own personal performance.
“Everybody needs to look in the mirror and see what they can do to improve their game.
“We need men to stand up and be counted.
“We got us in the position, the same players have to get us out.
“It really is a fight now.
“But there’s a lot of ability in that dressing room and I think one win will lead to a few more – we can get out of this.”
Austin has never experienced a season-long relegation scrap.
And the former Barnsley defender admits he does not want demotion on his CV.
“I’ve never been at the bottom of the table in my career,” he went on.
“I’ve never been in a scrap like this and I’ve never been relegated.
“But we can’t get any lower right now.
“We have to stick together and gee each other up.
“No-one can fall out.”
Austin continued: “Everyone was pretty down after the game at Bury.
“But we’re trying to get behind each other and give ourselves the best possible chance.
“Everyone needs to do everything right – on and off the training pitch.
“We need to look at all the finer details like getting the right sleep and preparing as best you can – all of that adds up.
“We have to give this absolutely everything because we know it hasn’t been good enough so far.”