Dave Jones says Hartlepool United’s players cannot afford to repeat the moment they froze in Easter Monday’s defeat at at Leyton Orient.
Pools host Barnet at the Northern Gas & Power Stadium on Saturday in a match they simply cannot contemplate losing.
If they freeze they shouldn’t be playing footballDAVE JONES
Jones believes that some of his players froze at Brisbane Road, where they were beaten 2-1 by a youthful O’s who played with genuine freedom, despite their own desperate position.
“They froze for the first time,” said the manager.
“They got their backsides smacked and lost the game – freeze again and it happens again.
“Hopefully they’ve got that out of the system.
“It’s now about how strong mentally the players are.
“If they freeze, they shouldn’t be playing football.”
Jones wants the players to tackle the situation and fight their way through it rather than succumbing meekly.
“I saw too many players struggling with maybe the pressure,” he said.
“We need to get away from that.”
Pools go into the home clash with the managerless Bees just one point above the Football League’s bottom two.
Jones wants the attitude to be spot on, but says they also can’t afford action replays of the goals they leaked to the O’s.
“We conceded poor goals,” said the boss.
“We can’t give away goals like that again.
“They are simple mistakes – I was in shock as we didn’t get near then.
“We have had second-half chances to get a goal, but they are the ones we have to put them away.
“We were very lucky with Newport losing on Monday.
“We got away with it then, but we won’t get away with it again.”
Jones must make at least one change to his side with Liam Donnelly suspended after his sending off at Barnet.
Nicky Deverdics, who started Monday’s match at Leyton Orient in midfield, could be switched to left-back.