Back to basics approach can turn Hartlepool United's season around - Craig Harrison

A back-to-basics approach can pay dividends for Hartlepool United - that's the view of boss Craig Harrison.

Wednesday, 27th December 2017, 6:00 am
Hartlepool's Jake Cassidy takes on Gateshead's Fraser Kerr.
Hartlepool's Jake Cassidy takes on Gateshead's Fraser Kerr.

Pools showed battle, bottle and character to come from a goal and a man down at Gateshead yesterday, answering many of their critics after recent below-par National League showings.

And Harrison believes that if Pools apply this kind of attitude and application every week, they’ll win more than they lose - and in doing so can get themselves right back in the fifth tier play-off mix.

“It was back to basics from us,” said the Pools manager.

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“The effort we put in was outstanding. The hard work, the competitiveness, the aggression - it was all there. And people have questioned whether we had that after recent weeks.

“We wanted to win, of course, but given the circumstances it was a good result. It was certainly a good game for the neutral – goals, a sending-off, chances. It’s just a shame we couldn’t get a late win.

“It was a big result in the circumstances.

“We have asked questions of the players with the run we have been on.

“We have given games away from winning positions too many times recently – this time they impressed and stood up. They worked hard tactically and did what we asked, which is all we ask of them.”

Pools head to Chester on Saturday and will do so without Blair Adams, needlessly sent off for a second bookable offence in the first half.

Harrison said he was not sure at all if his defender should have seen red. Although he was less than pleased he even went in for the challenge.

“I can’t see the challenge from where I was,” he said.

“There were bodies between us. The referee was very precious to say the least.

“Blair has to judge the game as a defender and the referee looked to blow for everything. Blair’s mates pulled him out the mire today.

Meanwhile, Harrison was delighted with his players’ reaction at the International Stadium.

The Pools boss said: “We showed fantastic character which is what we asked for.

“We aren’t on a good run, but we were aggressive from the off on the front foot. We showed the battling qualities which we want.

“The lads more than answered the questions on the day.

“To go behind and come back showed spirit. We changed tactically and we told them to stick with it even if we conceded.”

Discussing the two goals, Harrison said: “We talk about key moments, five minutes before half time and five after – at that time its about game management.

“The first goal we had a man sent off and are reorganising from it. It took two defections on the way through and hit us.

“We have gone 2-1 down with a replica – and it’s not acceptable as we reorganised at half-time. 

“But the pleasing thing is the belief we showed and the counter attacking football we played from wide.

“We all believed in each other and did more than enough to get a point.”