Exeter City v Hartlepool United: Michael Woods chases action replay

Michael Woods celebrates scoring his first goal for Pools against Exeter City. Picture by FRANK REID
Michael Woods celebrates scoring his first goal for Pools against Exeter City. Picture by FRANK REID

Hartlepool United might not be quite in the category of a bogey team to Exeter City.

But Pools certainly have happy memories of matches against the Grecians.

I scored my first goal for the club so it was a special day


Pools registered only two doubles last season, with Exeter being one of their victims.

And one player, more than most, recalls with a smile what happened the last time Pools visited St James Park, where the side triumphed 2-1 as Sam Collins took charge following the resignation of manager Colin Cooper.

“We did the double over these last year and we won down there in Sam’s first game in charge,” said midfielder Michael Woods.

“I scored my first goal for the club, so it was a special day.

“Given we won there, we can go to Exeter full of belief. Hopefully, we can do it again.”

But for all the happy memories, Woods says it is the here and now whaich matters for Pools.

Following the sensational start to the season, Pools have hit something of a sticky patch, with three defeats on the trot seeing them slip to ninth.

It’s hardly a disaster when you compare it to the woeful 2014-15 programme.

“What the lads, fans and club went through last year was hard,” said Woods.

“I think there needs to be a bit of realism about us at the moment.

“Yes, we got off to a great start and you don’t want to be negative, but if six months ago you’d said ‘come the start of September you’ll be in League Two and in ninth’ the club would have snapped that up.

“Last season was an anxious time, not now.

“We’re well up the league and if we can put a couple of results together then we can see where we can go.

“Exeter are just a point ahead of us, which shows how tight things are in this league – a win and we could be back in the top seven.

“We knew September was going to be a difficult month and it’s important we try to pick up some results, hopefully we can do that tomorrow.”

Pools come up against a cock-a-hoop Exeter tomorrow following the 4-0 rout Paul Tisdale’s team, inflicted on the division’s leaders, Leyton Orient, last weekend.

The O’s had conceded only three times in their first five matches only to leak four at St James Park. But Woods feels the Grecians are the sort of side Pools can compete with.

“Everyone knows that Exeter are one of the teams in this division that like to get the ball down and play,” said the 25-year-old.

“Their approach is a little bit different to some of the teams we’ve played in League Two so far.

“We’ve been working on a gameplan this week and it’s important how we play.

“We got off to a great start and while we’ve lost a couple and picked up injuries and suspensions, we’ll go there full of confidence.

“They like to pass it on the deck and hopefully that will suit us.

“We will look to match them and have a proper football game.

“It’s not going to be an aerial battle.”

A football match is right up Woods street, especially given the trials and tribulations he has been through in his year and a bit at the Vic.

He is lucky to be playing so soon after a dislocated ankle and fractured fibula in the 1-0 win over Wimbledon at the end of February

“I think it’s been well-documented, my injury problems and being in and out of the team,” he said.

“There is only so long you can look back at the injuries. Now is the time to knuckle down and try to produce performances to help the team out.”