Matthew Bates evaluates Niko Muir and Hartlepool United's National League form
Momentum is key for Hartlepool United this season - that's the view of boss Matthew Bates.
As things stand Pools are on an eight-game unbeaten run and have lost just once in the fifth tier this season.
It is that kind of form, if continued, which will see Bates’ men in the promotion mix come May.
And while Bates knows his team must continue to improve, and start turning draws into three points, he is satisfied with the start his side have made after 11 games.
“Every point is massive,” said Bates, whose side travel to Halifax Town on Saturday, followed by a trip to Salford City next Tuesday night.
“We are eight unbeaten now and have lost just once in 11.
“I am happy where we are at.
“We were, of course, disappointed with the result (1-1 home draw with Eastleigh), but not the performance at the weekend.
“We just need to keep getting wins and draws and we will be there of thereabouts.”
Macclesfield, who won the division last year, are testament to that theory, having been by far the most consistent side at this level in 2017/18, even if they were not the flashiest in attack, or most resilute at the other end.
Having a goalscorer also helps any promotion push. And Bates knows he’s signed a gem in striker Niko Muir, despite having only scored three from 11 games.
The manager knows that if the former Isthmian League frontman continues to perform at his current level, he’ll have plenty of goals at the end of the campaign.
Bates said: “Niko is in the right place at the right time - as he always is for us.
“I have said it before and I will say it again Niko will get goals for us this season if he keeps getting in the right areas.”