Matthew Bates reveals why Hartlepool United will soon make home soil a fortress
Matthew Bates is targeting a strong run of home form as Hartlepool United continue their push up the National League.
Some of Pools’ better performances this season have been reserved for their travels, but Bates believes that a run of wins at the Super 6 Stadium is just around the corner.
The Hartlepool boss also praised strike duo Luke James and Niko Muir, who he believes have not reaped the rewards of their fine performances this season.
Saturday’s 1-0 victory over Kidsgrove ensured that Pools continued their fine home form, which has seen them lost just once in the North East this campaign.
But some fans were left frustrated after points were dropped on home soil, with several draws in what seemed to be winnable games.
Bates, though, feels that results at the Super 6 Stadium haven’t reflected his side’s performance levels - but emphasised that a run of wins will be just around the corner.
“I think we have [looked good on home soil] in some games, but we have got the results or goals that our performances deserve,” he said.
“We’ve seen it at home in glimpses, maybe not as much as away, but that will change.
“We will go on a run at home and we will string good performances together, but it’s just not going that way at the moment.”
The FA Cup tie against the Staffordshire side once again emphasised Pools’ troubles in front of goal, but it wasn’t for a lack of effort from frontmen James and Muir.
Indeed, Bates was keen to praise the duo for the efforts and - while disappointed that the side failed to build on their early lead - he feels his front two haven’t yet felt the full rewards that their performances deserve.
“We’ve got two strikers who want to get goals, they do everything else and they haven’t got as many goals as they probably deserve,” added the Pools boss.
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“That was part of the thinking as well, to try and keep the two strikers on the pitch and get them a few goals.
“It wasn’t quite the way it worked, but Niko got on the scoresheet and he’ll take confidence from that.
“When you score early you want to go on and get four or five.
“But the history books will read that we got through the round, and the history books don’t tell the full story.
“The most important thing for the club was to get through.”
But while Pools are somewhat struggling at one end, they are flourishing at the other.
Bates’ new-look back five has become a pillar of strength and after a third consecutive clean sheet, the former defender was keen to appreciate the efforts of his troops.
The Pools boss said: “Scott Loach has been great again and it’s three clean sheets on the bounce in all competitions.
“We’re pleased with that, especially as a former defender myself.
“It gives confidence to the back three, or back five, so that’s a pleasing part.”