Crystal Palace midfielder says confidence is high ahead of big awayday

Jake Gray says Hartlepool United are not safe yet, but insists the side are ready to 'pick up a lot of points.'

Monday, 14th March 2016, 10:19 am
Updated Monday, 14th March 2016, 11:36 am
Hartlepool United 3-1 Dagenham and Redbridge League2. Picture by FRANK REID

The midfielder says Pools are capable of putting “a run of games together” including a win at Newport County tonight.

Craig Hignett’s side are looking to complete a hat-trick of League Two victories for the first time since August.

Gray, whose sixth goal of the season sealed Saturday’s 3-1 success over Dagenham & Redbridge, told SportMail that confidence is high.

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“I wouldn’t say we’re safe, we’ll knuckle down and keep getting the points,” said the 20-year-old.

“We don’t want to get complacent, we’ve come a long way from where we were.

“We had some hard times but hopefully we have got away from that and we’re looking forward to the rest of the season now.

“Newport will be tough.

“They haven’t got the best pitch, it will be a battle, but one we’re ready for.

“Our confidence is very high at the moment.”

That confidence, of course, is coming from winning and also from Hignett, whose methods are now paying off with results.

“We’re very happy with how things are going,” said the Crystal Palace prospect.

“The gaffer’s still getting his philosophy over to us and I think it’s going well so far.

“When he first came in I think we were unlucky in one or two of the games, although the Bristol Rovers match was one to forget.

“I think we’re starting to click, we’re now looking to put a run of games together and pick a lot of points.”

Gray says Hignett has given the side’s flair players freedom to express themselves and that is paying dividends.

Nathan Thomas, Lewis Hawkins and Gray have all scored in the last two matches - 3-1 wins over the Daggers and previous to that, at Barnet.

“He’s allowing me and Hawksy to bomb on as much as we want and you have Nathan who is ripping defenders apart,” said Gray.

“His deliveries are a different class, he has a wand of a left foot.

“Not many defenders in this league can handle him, we’re lucky to have him.”

Gray admitted that Hignett was not all smiles after the home win over Dagenham.

The Aylesbury-born attacking midfielder said the manager wants the team to retain possession.

“He wants us to pass more, build more attacks, but on Saturday we weren’t really great at keeping the ball,” he said.

“He was quite disappointed with that, but it’s something we can improve upon.

“We do a lot more possession training and hopefully you can see that in games, may be not on Saturday.

“It’s something we are trying to work on.”