Caretaker Matthew Bates insists Hartlepool United are not safe yet in bid to retain their National League status.

Hartlepool caretaker manager Matthew Bates during the Vanarama National League match between Hartlepool United and Guiseley at Victoria Park. Credit: Mark Fletcher | Shutter Press.
Hartlepool caretaker manager Matthew Bates during the Vanarama National League match between Hartlepool United and Guiseley at Victoria Park. Credit: Mark Fletcher | Shutter Press.

Caretaker Matthew Bates insists Hartlepool United are not yet out the woods in their quest to retain their National League status.

Five games unbeaten and a run of three games on the bounce came to a shuddering halt yesterday afternoon as a Louis Laing error allowed Dayle Southwell to steal all three points for bottom of the table Guiseley.

And Bates has made it clear to his players that despite opening up a seven-point gap to the bottom four, his side must not put their feet up between now and the end of the month.

He knows if they do, it could come to bite his side in the backside, because as Guiseley proved, the teams around them are fighting for their lives.

“We aren’t safe,” said Bates.

“It’s game by game and I’ve not looked at a points total – this could have been a big step, but it wasn’t to be.

“A month ago and if we looked at where we would be now then I would have snapped their hands off and I hope everyone keeps going.”

One of the biggest problems facing Bates between now and the end of the season is going to be keeping his players fit enough to play.

With such a threadbare squad and a hectic run of games, Bates has already rolled back training in recent weeks. And he is set to do the same this week.

“I think all we were lacking was a bit of intensity, we were OK going forward but lacking a bit of drive. We have 14/15 first-team fit players and I’ve only used 13/14 of late,” said the manager.

“I can’t fault them, there’s tired bodies in the dressing room.

“We will have recovery work the next few days – massages, ice baths and the few days ahead will be vital.

“I’m happy to get this run of games out of the way now.”