Graeme Lee makes bold claim for Hartlepool United ahead of their trip to Scunthorpe United

Graeme Lee has declared he is treating Hartlepool United’s game with Scunthorpe United this afternoon as a ‘must win’ in a bid to end their poor run of form.

By Joe Ramage
Saturday, 30th April 2022, 8:00 am

Lee will be back in the dugout for Pools today after missing each of the last two games having recently contracted COVID-19.

Lee was absent from Pools’ defeat at Rochdale on Easter Monday and last week’s disappointing result against Swindon Town at the Suit Direct Stadium with his side now on a run of three straight defeats and just one win in 10 games since missing out on a trip to Wembley in the EFL Trophy semi-final against Rotherham United.

Pools’ disheartening run of form is threatening to take the shine off their accomplishments from this season with supporters growing frustrated as the season continues to fizzle out.

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Graeme Lee has declared Hartlepool United's game with Scunthorpe United as a must win. (Credit: Mark Fletcher | MI News)

Now, with just two games remaining, Lee does not have much room for improvement before the squad break for the end of the season.

And in a bid to challenge his injury-hit squad to raise their performance at the Sands Venue Stadium this afternoon, Lee has suggested he is treating the game with an already relegated Scuthorpe side as a must win.

“There’s a lot of factors, there’s a lot of things going on,” said Lee when asked about Pools’ slump in form.

“Sometimes if your mentality just switches off, or you’re not quite going for the balls that you should or press how you should, it can impact things.

Hartlepool United fans dress up as smurfs during the League One match with Charlton Athletic at The Valley on May 5, 2012. (Photo by Phil Cole/Getty Images)

“But I think a few of the games where, usually you have six, seven, eight of the players really at it, you can maybe carry someone who’s having an off day but we've probably had the opposite.

“I watch the lads in training and they’re not coming in thinking they’re in holiday mode. It’s just not happening or there’s sometimes a slight little doubt in their mind maybe because of their situation.

“Whatever it may be, it’s not right and we know it. I came in and had a right go at them on Monday after the weekend. But this game, the way we’re preparing them, is a must win game.”

Pools are set to be backed by a sold out away end in North Lincolnshire as the travelling supporters get set to welcome back their end of season tradition with fans in fancy dress.

This year’s theme, doctors and nurses, pays tribute to the work done by the NHS throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and Lee says he is determined to reward supporters for their backing throughout the season.

“I’m desperate for the fans to get something to cheer about and I’ve been drumming into the lads all week what we expect and the desire we need to go and get something.

“It’s a great idea and a great gesture from them and I’m desperate for them fans to get something to cheer about.

“My son’s going to be part of it. He’s already got his doctor's outfit and is ready to go.

“He’s been talking about it for a good while looking at the previous years with the knights and the smurfs so it’s brilliant.

“I just want them to be smiling and we’ll give everything we can.”