Hartlepool United can win National League

Hartlepool United's players believe Pools are still capable of winning the National League.

Friday, 1st December 2017, 8:00 am
Updated Tuesday, 12th December 2017, 12:12 pm
Pools boss Craig Harrison

Boss Craig Harrison revealed his squad made the declaration this week ahead of tomorrow’s crucial match with Macclefield, having viewed last Saturday’s 3-0 defeat at Ebbsfleet.

Confidence counts for much in sport and Pools players are not short of that commodity and that could prove crucial to their hopes of an instant return to the EFL.

Rhys Oates celebrates scoring at Torquay. Picture by Gareth Williams/AHPIX

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You would think optimism would have been dented by the set-back in South-East London, but the opposite is true.

Defeat has added extra steel to the squad’s resolve before the important showdown with the Silkmen (kick-off 3pm).

“The good outcome from the meeting we had on Tuesday was that everyone in that room still thinks they can win the league,” said Harrison.

“Eight points off top is nothing – there are still 24 games left, still a lot of points to play for.

Rhys Oates celebrates scoring at Torquay. Picture by Gareth Williams/AHPIX

“You are hardly out of the race, are you, with those figures?

“It was good to finish on a positive note. Everyone, every player and member of staff agreed that’s what we are there for, to try to win the league.

“It’s good to have self-belief and a high aim.

“We’re only eight points from the top and, on the flip side, we are only four points off a play-off position.”

Harrison is a man who places great store on stats and he knows the figures he feels Pools will need if they are to compete for the promotion prizes.

“We have a magic number where we want to be – over 70 points in this league is a play-off spot, 85 and more is probably top two and three,” he said.

“We’ll keep chipping away at where we want to be.

“In my mind, it’s not who we play, it’s about getting the points come May.”

Harrison has done his research and says 77 points has equated to a top-five finish in the fifth tier.

The National League play-off positions now cover second to seventh, compared to second to fifth in previous seasons.

“Before they added the extra two play-off positions, the average bottom play-off place has been 77 points,” said the manager.

“The figure will probably dip this year because everyone is beating each other.

“But we know where we want to be.

“Ideally, we’d like to be at the top of the league and there’s no reason why not.”

Pools start tomorrow’s match in 13th spot in the table, seven points behind their visitors.

Macclesfield are in fourth place, just a point behind leaders Aldershot.

The Macc lads have spent all but one of the last 10 rounds of matches in the top four, including three weeks in top spot.