Victory at Torquay is vital for Hartlepool United in promotion hunt

Craig Harrison stopped short of describing Hartlepool United's trip to Torquay as a must-win game.

Friday, 27th October 2017, 10:00 am
Updated Tuesday, 12th December 2017, 12:15 pm
Craig Harrison.

But the Pools manager knows just how crucial tomorrow’s 23rd v 14th match is at Plainmoor.

This time last week, Harrison, with a fixture list of Sutton (H), Tranmere (H) and Torquay (A) will have, privately, fancied a nine-point haul.

However, while Pools have not lost this week, back-to-back 1-1 draws have proven costly to the side.

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Pools have given up leads in both fixtures – had the team hung on at 1-0 or scored more they would be heading to Devon in sixth place in the table.

Alas, Pools are 14th, though, given the tight nature of the table, they remain just three points outside the magical top seven.

“We need to go there to win the game, that will probably end a reasonable week with five points,” said the ex-TNS boss.

“Had we won one or two of the home games we could have gone there to make sure we don’t lose.

“It would make it an OK week if we win – a five-point haul is just over half of the points available.

“It wouldn’t be a good week, but a satisfactory one.

“We go there to win.”

While Pools will start as favourites, it’s not going to be easy against the Gulls who, under new boss Gary Owers, have collected seven points from a possible 12 to move off the foot of the table.

“We’ve had them watched, as we do with all the teams we play, and me Jenks and Batesy have been through the footage and we’ll be well prepared,” said Harrison.

“But I think it’s more about us.”

Indeed it is and Pools must find a clinical touch to put sides to bed.

“Scoring one goal is not proving enough.

Harrison though has been encouraged by what he saw on Tuesday night against Rovers.

“We all wanted six points and we were in winning positions in both games, so we aren’t happy.

“We’ve picked up two points, we’re not clairvoyants, so we don’t know where that will get us.

“We won’t know until the end of the season whether those two points could be the difference between us getting promotion and not.

“Don’t get me wrong, we want to win our games, but what’s done is done.

“We can’t do anything about it now, apart from take the positives from it.

“On Tuesday it was, for 55-60 minutes, as good as we have played attacking-wise.

“We were excellent, created opportunities, scored a fantastic goal and their keeper has made four or five saves.

“I would imagine stats-wise it’s the most shots on target in a game we have had this season, apart from Maidstone.

“A second goal changes games, as it did that day against Maidstone and as it would against Sutton.

“Get a second and we’d have won those games this week.”