Graeme Lee has this message for his Hartlepool United players ahead of Forest Green Rovers test

Graeme Lee suggests his players need to show more in the final weeks of the season if they are to earn new contracts, moves elsewhere or feature in his starting line-up.

By Joe Ramage
Wednesday, 6th April 2022, 12:30 pm

Lee was left disappointed with the lack of fight shown from his players in their defeat to Salford City last weekend as they fell to a 2-0 defeat at the Suit Direct Stadium.

And with Pools’ play-off push over, and their safety all but secured, the concern is the season could fizzle out over the remaining six games.

Pools head to the New Lawn Stadium on Saturday to face league leaders Forest Green Rovers with Rob Edwards’ side on the brink of sealing promotion to League One following their midweek success over Mansfield Town.

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Graeme Lee wants to see more from his players ahead of Hartlepool United's run in. (Credit: Mark Fletcher | MI News)

And Lee says his side will be in for a difficult afternoon should they not up their performance from Saturday’s defeat to the Ammies.

“I said to them you’ve got Forest Green next week and if you perform like that it’s going to be one hell of an afternoon. We need a response,” said Lee.

“We’ve got to look at ourselves and we’ve got to reflect on that [Salford] performance and realise that if we do drop that desire to fight it's going to be a tough afternoon and a tough month, a month we don’t want to be tough.

“We want it to be a celebration and an enjoyment for everyone but it won’t be.

Graeme Lee was disappointed with his side's lack of fight against Salford City. (Credit: Mark Fletcher | MI News)

“People are in different frame of mind. People are fighting for contracts or are wanting, or seeing themselves, playing higher or to be fighting to be getting in the team.

“The only way they do that is by performing on the pitch and if the standard has dropped because they’re thinking there’s something else there then it won’t happen.”

Pools have endured a difficult run of fixtures in recent weeks, taking on four promotion or play-off contenders in succession against Newport County, Northampton Town, Mansfield Town and Salford before Saturday’s trip to Forest Green and then another challenging fixture with League Two’s form side in Port Vale on Good Friday.

But Lee has suggested that he relishes pitting his side against the ‘so-called better teams in the league’ and that won’t change this weekend.

“They’re great challenges, that’s where you want to be, putting yourself against the best teams in the league who are pushing,” Lee told The Mail.

“A couple of wins here or there and we’d have been one of them teams who they’d have been looking at. I imagine teams are looking at us thinking they’re getting results still and we’ve got quality in the team.

“I heard people saying Northampton changed a little bit of the way they played to try and stop us because of the way we play so we’re getting respect from teams because they know it’s not going to be easy and we’ve got to make sure it isn’t easy for anyone.

“The run of games is tough but it’s enjoyable because you’re going up against the so-called better teams in the league.”