SIMON Walton says it’s time for Hartlepool United to take control of their own destiny – calling on his team-mates to “stand up and be counted” tomorrow night at Oldham Athletic.
Successive goalless draws at Victoria Park have left the influential midfielder frustrated.
While grateful that results elsewhere mean Pools are now just six points from safety, Walton insists he and his colleagues must do better than efforts of late.
They have failed to score in their last three outings, that in contrast to a run of five wins from seven coming in to March.
And Walton, who admits he lost his cool in the dressing-room following Saturday’s stalemate with Yeovil Town, has today issued a passionate rallying cry ahead of the trip to Boundary Park.
“Everyone has to take the responsibility now,” the 25-year-old told SportMail.
“We’ve done so much to get back into a good position from where we got ourselves in the first place, we can’t just throw that away.
“I lost my head a little bit on Saturday and said in the dressing-room afterwards - it’s time now to stand up and be counted, we have to make things happen and the last two games we’ve maybe waited for things to happen.
“It’s our livelihoods we are talking about and we won’t let anyone take that chance away from us.”
Walton has shown that he’s not afraid to confront his comrades on the playing field.
And the Yorkshireman insists there is no room for “Mr Nice Guy” when it comes to a survival scrap.
“We all had our say at half-time on Saturday and I think it’s been our problem at times that we are a bit too nice to each other,” he went on.
“We’ve got a great set of lads who get on most of the time, but sometimes you need to have your say.
“It happened at Sheffield United when Sweens (Tony Sweeney) and Sam (Collins) were at each other on the pitch and it spurred everyone on and we won.
“I’m not saying go out there and fight each other, but we know what is at stake, it’s our livelihoods and we have to do what it takes to get out of this situation - Mr Nice Guy never wins.
“We have to dig in and help each other out.
“There’s times we might struggle in the last nine games, but we have to dig in and help each other out as you don’t get anywhere without a team spirit.”
Pools could move to within three points of safety with victory against The Latics, who reside just one place above them in the League One drop zone.
And Walton is not under-estimating the significance of the fixture.
“It’s the old six-pointer cliché for tomorrow,” he said.
“They have a couple of games in hand so we have to go there and do it – we’ve got to win.
“We’ve beaten teams at the top of the league away from home so we go there positive and with plenty of belief to take the bull by the horns.”