Anyone doubting the team spirit at Hartlepool United would need their “heads looking at”.
That was the blunt message from Craig Harrison, whose side are one of the National League’s form sides.
Pools have lost just once of their last 10 league and cup fixtures, with some of the wins really highlighting the mental strength and good atmosphere within the squad.
Harrison’s side have won three of their last four away matches 2-1, at Leyton Orient, Solihull Moors and South Shields.
Each has been achieved with some show of grit.
l Pools were 1-0 down in the Eastend and came back to win at Orient.
l Jonathan Franks grabbed a last-gasp winner at Solihull after the Moors had snatched a late equaliser.
l Pools fought back from being a goal down at crack non-league side Shields to emerge with FA Cup progress.
Harrison pulled no punches when assessing the state of his squad ahead of a vital Victoria Park double against Sutton United this Saturday and Tranmere Rovers a week tonight.
“I think anyone who has doubted the spirit of the team over the last three or four weeks wants their head looking at,” said Harrison.
“Just look at the way we have won games – we have stuck together as a team and have won without playing well.
“I felt at Shields we played as well footballing-wise as we have for a while, we passed the ball around well but didn’t quite have that final pass or decision right.
“We could have been two up before they scored.
“We had a wobble, re-organised and that’s the make up of the players that they accepted it, got on with it and were excellent in the second half.”
Harrison says that with spirit a team can achieve anything.
And he believes the poor start to the National League campaign has HELPED Pools rather than hold them back.
“If you that you have a chance no matter what happens,” said the 39-year-old.
“It’s not something you can buy or falsely implement.
“Looking back with a clear head, what’s probably happened is the four-five weeks at the start of the season has been vital.
“When it hasn’t gone for us and we have good pros like Woodsy, Loachy, Feaths, Mags to name a few, you either go your separate way and group fragments or come together.
“What went on early season is probably one of the best things to happen for team spirit.
“You can’t bring players in just to do that, it’s something that is formed naturally.
“It has come together over the opening weeks of the season, maybe the start was a blessing in disguise?
“You look at the way we have played.
“I’m sure people watching from the sidelines see the lads giving everything they’ve got.
“Sometimes we don’t perform as well as we’d like to.
“But the one thing we have got is real, real team spirit.
“How you can measure that is by what happened at half-time with people having a go at each other.
“You don’t spit your dummy out and say ‘you can’t speak to me like that’.
“You are a man, you accept it, get on with it and move on.”