Extra Aldershot preparation no bad thing for Matthew Bates & Hartlepool United

Matthew Bates at Victoria Park.
Matthew Bates at Victoria Park.

Matthew Bates admits the weekend postponement of Hartlepool United’s trip to Aldershot was no bad thing.

Pools’ trip to Hampshire was delayed after heavy snow down South made conditions around the ground treacherous, even though the pitch itself was in fact playable.

So instead of travelling down Saturday, Bates & Co will make the journey tomorrow.

And the caretaker is not in the mood to complain too much, especially now his side have three extra days to prepare, both physically and mentally.

“In all my time in football I don’t think I ever had difficulty getting out for training,” said Bates.

“But in my first full week, we had weather that made preparation for the game very difficult.

“So for us to get a couple more days to prepare is not a bad thing.

“Obviously everyone wants to get out there to play but we get the chance soon enough on Tuesday.”

Instead of being able to get out at their usual Durham University training base, Pools were forced to do the majority of their work over in Seaton Carew, at the indoor Sports Domes.

While Bates put a brave face on it, it was far from ideal.

And the bad weather added to what has been a very difficult period for Pools, who have had issues on and off the field of late.

Bates says he has worked on a number of things after the Ebbsfleet United debacle at the Vic nine days ago.

“I have to say it was really frustrating watching us defend in that game,” he said of his side’s defensive performance in which Louis Laing and Scott Harrison came in for particular criticism.

“Against Ebbsfleet if just one or two of the players had been off it, we might have been OK. But you cannot legislate for eight or nine having an off day. It was a very difficult performance to watch for me, so I can feel the fans’ frustrations.

“This week in terms of getting out on the pitches has been frustrating, but we have been able to work on a few things tactically for the Aldershot game.

“We know they are a very good team and we will have to be at our very best to get something out of the game.

“We have a gameplan. We need to execute it.”

On the injury front Pools remain without the services of Ryan Donaldson (ankle) and Kenton Richardson (shoulder).

Liam Donnelly is set to be fit, having managed to fully recover from an ankle problem suffered more than a month ago in the warm-up to the defeat to Eastleigh.

Jack Munns is touch and go for the encounter, having returned to training after a lengthy lay-off.