Ronnie Moore has implored his Hartlepool United players to be “brave” for tomorrow night’s crunch FA Cup tie.
Pools have reached something of a crossroads of their season ahead of the visit of Salford City in the second-round replay.
The players have to be hungry, they have to have the desire, you can’t teach them that, it’s in your DNA!
A victory over the non-league outfit could prove a turning point but Moore’s side must start finding the net.
Since putting three past Leyton Orient, there have been just two goals in the last four matches – one was an OG and the other a penalty.
Moore told SportMail the players must show hunger and guts after seeing his side fail to find the Portsmouth net on Saturday, despite having several good openings and set-pieces.
“At the moment I don’t think there are enough people who want to score,” he said.
“Some of the corners and free-kicks were crying out to be put in.
“But no-one has got on the end of them.
“Jake’s had one bad one and we’ll let him off with that, but he’s whipped in some good ones.
“The players have to be hungry, they have to have the desire, you can’t teach them that, it’s in your DNA!
“You can’t teach them that.
“I’ve said it before, if you are not scoring from open play, that makes those set-pieces vital.
“You need deliveries and they have been but you need your strikers, centre-halves prepared to get in there where it hurts.
“You have to be brave, you might get a boot, a punch, you might get your nose broken, it’s all for the cause.
“Do they want to score or stay pretty?”
While Portsmouth romped home 4-0 there were no lack of opening for Pools – Rakish Bingham, Rhys Oates, Scott Fenwick, Matthew Bates and Nicky Featherstone all having chances.
All but the 83rd-minute opportunity for Featherstone came when Pools were still in contention.
The midfielder, wearing the captain’s armband afer Carl Magnay had come off, had broke into the box after combining with Mikael Mandron but failed to get a shot off.
Moore was not singling out the 27-year-old but believes it is symtomatic of the state Pools are in when in front of goal.
“Nicky had done the hard part by getting in there and when he’d got half a yard he should have hit it,” said the manager.
“We are trying to score the perfect goal but that doesn’t always happen – you have to take opportunities when they come along.
“There were free-kicks, good deliveries we just could not get on the end of it.”
Salford had the Saturday off after their Northern Premier Division match against Whitby Town was off because of a waterlogged pitch at Moor Lane.
Pools did not get back into town until around 1am and they were back in training yesterday.