Ronnie Moore faces a massive job to get Hartlepool United ready mentally and physically for Saturday’s League Two clash with Plymouth Argyle.
Pools needed extra-time to beat Salford City in last night’s FA Cup second round replay at Victoria Park.
We’re not firing on all cylinders and have too many players low on confidence and when you have that you are in troubleRONNIE MOORE
Goals at the start and end of the added half-an-hour by Scott Fenwick and Mikael Mandron finally subdued the ‘Class of 92’ club who had been the better team over he 90 minutes of normal time.
The 2-0 victory earned Pools £28,000 in prize money and a potential money-spinning third-round clash with Championship title contenders Derby County on Saturday, January 9.
But that is for next year – first on the horizon for Pools is a home date on Saturday with League Two promotion favourites Plymouth.
Games do not come any harder than that, especially on the back of an energy-sapping, emotionally-draining two hours against the non league battlers.
“It’s going to be hard on Saturday, we know that,” Moore told SportMail. “But it was tough last night and credit has to go to Salford and their managers.
“It’s going to be difficult going into Saturday – we had an extra half-an-hour last night having had to do a lot of running on Saturday at Portsmouth.
“We’ll look to prepare right for what is a massive game.
“We must roll our sleeves up and have a go.
“Our confidence is down at the moment but that comes back by grinding out results like we did against Salford.
“We’re a million miles away at the present time from where we want to be.
“But we dug deep and got the result and have made the third round of the FA Cup.
“We’re not firing on all cylinders and have too many players low on confidence and when you have that you are in trouble. But the lads worked hard and got the rewards in the end but Saturday is another massive game.”
Moore was pleased with how his players found the way to win having been outplayed for much of the tie.
“Full marks for your effort and commitment in extra-time,” he said.
“But we have to be better than that, we’re the professional club with full-time footballers.
“Instead it was Salford who looked like the pros.
“Going forward we were too slow.
“We are the home team, we have to create the right tempo, but we didn’t and they were comfortable when we should have been putting them on the back foot.”
Moore hopes the belief will start to return, but they looked a pale shadow of the side which outplayed promotion favourites Oxford in the last home match.
But he says if the players are off-form, they must make sure they are hard to beat.
“We’re miles off what we were against Oxford,” he admitted. “We gave the ball away for fun against Salford and it’s down to confidence.
“We need to get on the training ground and work on it.
“If we’re poor on the ball we have to make sure we’re a hard-working side, that we condense the pitch and make it difficult for teams.”
Moore has a major headache for Saturday’s 20th against third match as he looks like being without two right-backs who have groin injuries.
Michael Duckworth was ruled out last night while skipper Carl Magnay came off five minutes from the end of normal time.