Sunday fun day will be good for Hartlepool United ahead of Tranmere clash

Craig Harrison believes Hartlepool United's players will be 'back at it' in training today and relishing a crack at Tranmere Rovers.

Monday, 23rd October 2017, 7:00 am
Updated Tuesday, 12th December 2017, 10:58 am
Hartlepool United manager Craig Harrison.

Pools face their second home match inside four days tomorrow night when they host the pre-season promotion favourites.

They go into the game on the back of a 1-1 draw with Sutton United at Victoria Park.

On the face of it, a point against the side who started the day in fourth is hardly one to get depressed about.

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However Pools conceded the equaliser in the ninth minute of added time, sub Tommy Wright lashing home at the far post to chalk off a 39th-minute Rhys Oates goal.

It’s akin to a boxer winning a bout only to be floored by the last punch.

Harrison said the disappointment was palpable and that was one of the reasons he told the squad to enjoy a Sunday with loved ones.

This season, Pools have regularly been at the training ground on the Sabbath on a Saturday-Tuesday-Saturday match schedule.

“The lads had yesterday off,” said Harrison.

“They’ve spent a lot of time together of late, so they needed a bit of space.

“Saturday felt like a kick where it hurts so a bit of time away from here will do them good.

“I know they will have been good professionals and done their rest and recovery so today they will be ready to get at it again.

“Saturday had a feeling of a defeat, given the late goal Sutton scored, but that point could yet prove the difference to being a successful season than not.”

Pools slipped from 13th to 14th as a result of that “kick where it hurts”.

Had they held on at 1-0, they would be going into the last home fixture this month ninth in the table.

However, the boys in blue remain only three points outside the top seven.

Harrison should have midfield ace Nicky Featherstone back in contention for tomorrow night’s attractive contest.

The experienced 29-year-old has been an integral figure in the side’s transformation and was sorely missed on Saturday.

It is understood he felt tightness in his groin though all Harrison would say was that the team’s longest-serving player was “not available” for the match against the U’s.

Asked how he felt he replied “good”, repeating the same word when asked what the prospects were for Featherstone to be fit to face Rovers.