Matthew Bates reveals the performance that has set the bar for Hartlepool United's season
Hartlepool United boss Matthew Bates believes his players have set the standard for the season.
Pools dazzled for 45 minutes at Braintree Town on Tuesday, despite not getting the result.
And Bates is keen to see his players replicate their first-half show, but for 90 minutes, home and away.
Bates & Co host Maidenhead United at the Super 6 Stadium this afternoon, and ahead of the clash, the manager feels his side are closing in on that all important first three points of the National League campaign.
“That first 45 against Braintree has to be our standard now,” said Bates.
“That was the best 45 we have had this season and we have to make sure we replicate that.
“If we do, we know we will be OK.
“The lads are champing at the bit to get the three points.”
Three draws and no win from the opening four games has some Poolies, online and on the terraces, concerned, especially after a six-game winless start under Craig Harrison in their debut season at this level 12 months ago.
Bates is confident things are different, and he knows his players think that, too.
“Last year we never got in the position we have found ourselves in this season in terms of the three draws,” he said.
“It’s just been two last minute goals. That’s football, though. There is no issue, no problem within the group. There is no weak mentality in the group.
“Like I have said before it swings and roundabouts - it will even itself up.
“We do need to get that three points, though, sooner rather than later.
“Most of the lads are intelligent, they can see what we are doing is working.
“It will come if we maintain the standard we have at the moment.”
Former Middlesbrough defender Bates, who looks set to again be without skipper Andrew Davies this weekend, continued: “We’ve had two away games and two draws and there’s nothing wrong with that away from home.
“All the players and staff are positive - there would be a problem if we were getting beat and weren’t competing but we have been competitive in every single game and been the better team in at least three out of the four games.
“If we keep being better than the others then we will win games, that’s the law of averages.
“Things will change. We’re happy with how things are going.
“I have no doubt that results will change.”
Maidenhead travel north having failed to win any of their opening four games at this level. It’s a sequence that finds them occupying bottom spot in the fifth tier.
League positions matter little to Bates - he’s only concerned about his troops can produce.
“Their league position is irrelevant. They are a good side but we feel we have better players,” he said.
“If we are man for man better than them we have a better chance of winning. That’s what we have been working on. We’ve put on a performance away, now it’s time to do it for the home fans.”