JOHN Hughes is expecting his relegated Hartlepool United players to come out fighting against Brentford tomorrow – not for the benefit of the live television cameras but for the club’s fans.
Pools take on the promotion-chasing Bees at Victoria Park (kick-off 5.20pm) knowing they will be playing their football in the bottom tier next season.
Hughes’ side have won their last two matches and the Scot wants to see out the campaign on a similarly victorious note, not least for the supporters who have endured the heartache of relegation.
“I’m bitterly disappointed for the supporters because they have stuck behind us this season,” he told SportMail.
“But we can’t feel sorry for ourselves, we have two games to go and we need to finish the season on a high.
“We want to go and give them a game, we owe that to the supporters.
“We will be putting it in for Hartlepool, not for anybody else.
“We’ve won the last two and we want to win the next two as well.”
Uwe Rosler’s Brentford are just one point and one place outside of the automatic-promotion places.
For Pools, they will want to avoid the ignominy of finishing bottom of the table, Bury being just two points behind following their midweek win over Scunthorpe United.
But Hughes says he and the club are still to decide on the future of several players whose contracts expire in the summer and, while that is the case, he is open to persuasion.
“Some of them are still playing for their livelihoods so I’ll be looking at them,” he went on.
“Even the way they get out of the car in the morning, I look at their natural enthusiasm.
“Everything we do we’re constantly assessing them.
“Tomorrow is a big match for some of them to show me they want to be part of this next year.”
SEE Friday’s Mail for full story