STAYIN’ ALIVE: Time for Pools to perform as results go their way

AWARD WINNERS: Peter Hartley (left) and John Hughes. Picture by FRANK REID
AWARD WINNERS: Peter Hartley (left) and John Hughes. Picture by FRANK REID
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JOHN Hughes will call on his players to fulfil their end of the bargain this weekend after Hartlepool United’s survival hopes were kept alive by Preston North End.

Had fifth-from-bottom Oldham Athletic beaten The Lilywhites at Deepdale last night, then Pools would have needed to win their three remaining games to stand any chance of avoiding the drop – and hope their rivals lost all of their matches.

As it is, mid-table Preston were 2-0 victors over The Latics to keep them within five points of Pools.

Oldham now travel to bottom club Bury on Saturday while Hughes takes his men to out-of-form Tranmere Rovers.

And the Scot has retrained his focus on the fortunes of his side.

“Yes, we’ve got to hope for results elsewhere going our way,” he told SportMail, “But it’s no good getting those results if we don’t take advantage.

“I still think we’ll have to win our last three games but that is possible.

“We won five out of seven recently so we know we can do it.

“Nobody gave us a chance of doing that and not many will fancy us to do it again.

“But that’s the challenge we’ve got to rise to and use that as inspiration.”

Oldham were beaten by a Nicky Wroe 73rd-minute penalty – former Middlesbrough defender Jonathan Grounds having handled - and an injury-time strike from William Hayhurst.

And a miserable night for Lee Johnson’s side was compounded by a yellow card for top goalscorer Jose Baxter which keeps him out of their next two fixtures.