HARTLEPOOL United’s first home match this weekend has already been described as a “huge, huge” game by captain Matthew Bates.
Pools will be looking to shake off last night’s thrashing when Bury come to Victoria Park in Sky Bet League Two.
And in a rallying cry Bates said Pools need men on the pitch that “want to wear the shirt and want to win”.
The experienced defender felt Pools are getting passed around too easily and said the players will be working on that in training this morning at Maiden Castle.
Against Stevenage, Pools looked relatively solid at the back. Last night was a completely different story though.
Pools, defensively, were all over the shop last night and it was bordering on embarrassing come the final whistle.
On too many occasions to count, the Port Vale midfielders were able to put crosses into the box unchallenged, with three of them leading to goals.
Bates was forthright when assessing the last two performances and admits there is plenty to be working on.
The defender, hailed as a “natural leader” by his former team mate-turned-manager when he got the armband, believes Pools need to improve all over the pitch.
Bates said: “I didn’t think it was a massively strong display against Stevenage to be honest with you.
“As a team we get passed round a little bit too easy and that is what we are trying to work on.
“Against Port Vale there was a lot more crosses that were scored from but we didn’t really get passed open as much as we did against Stevenage.
“We will be in training Wednesday to work on all that.
“Bury is a huge, huge game now on the back of two defeats.
“We need men on that pitch and people who want to play, people who want to wear the shirt and people who want to win.”
Pools have three busy days on the training pitches at Maiden Castle to put things right before the visit of Bury this weekend.