HARTLEPOOL Rovers boss Alan Brown admits all promotion hopes have gone – but is demanding his side do not surrender their unbeaten home record.
Rovers face in-form Stockton at the Friarage tomorrow, when his hometown team look to strengthen their own promotion charge.
Stockton currently occupy the play-off position and are only five points behind leaders Darlington and Brown knows they will arrive at West View Road with their tails up (kick-off 2.15pm).
Last week’s defeat at Gosforth ended any dreams Rovers had of an instant return to North One East, but Brown won’t write off the rest of the season.
“It’s going to be a hard battle, we know that,” Brown told SportMail.
“But we are unbeaten at home so far and I want to still be saying that at 4pm tomorrow.
“We’ve won every league game at the Friarage and we’ve got to take some heart and belief from that.
“Promotion is out the window now but that does not mean our season is finished.
“We have pride to play for – we don’t want to lose our unbeaten home record – and we have to build for next season.
“We’ve got to keep moving forward and we have made some progress this season after our problems last year.
“It’s going to be hard tomorrow – Stockton are coming here after revenge after we ended their long unbeaten run back in October.”
Young wing prospect Adam Smith comes into the Rovers side.
SEE Friday’s Mail for full story