Football can triumph in the land of the giants for Hartlepool United - Nicky Deverdics

Hartlepool United's Nicky Deverdics.
Hartlepool United's Nicky Deverdics.

Slick, passing football can being success in the National League for Hartlepool United, according to fifth tier veteran Nicky Deverdics.

But the attacking midfielder says Pools have still got to make sure they’re able to mix it with the big boys at this level, especially when winter kicks in.

“You have got to be able to mix it up at this level,” said Deverdics, who got rave reviews at this level during his time at Dover Athletic.

“When the weather goes and the pitches get worse life gets a whole lot harder in this division.

“But you can play football and succeed as well. You have to have a balance between the two.

“Not every team at this level is big, strong and physical, despite what people might say. Yes, teams might have a couple of big defenders but they play as well.

“For us it has more been a case of earning the right to play. We need to make sure we win the battles. That is key.

“We did that at the weekend, but they scored on the break and it is even harder for us chasing the game.”

Winning the battles was not enough down in South London as Pools were humbled by recently turned full-time minnows Bromley.

Despite dominating proceedings Pools habit of making a mistake at the back came back to haunt them, handing the opposition the upper hand, as they have done in every game so far this season.

It’s not good talking about it off the field, the players need to start delivering on it, says the 29-year-old.

“We need that win,” he said.

“The last few we have looked like we are going to do it but have fallen short.

“Football is plain and simple. We need to give ourselves a chance to win the game.

“Getting the first goal would go some way to helping that.

“We are looking the better side in a game but it’s no good doing that if you do not win.

“We have got to focus on playing for 90, never mind just turning up for 35 or 40 minutes.”

Having fallen behind in all five encounters to date, and subsequently failing to keep a clean sheet, it’s easy to see why Pools have struggled so far this season.

There have been signs of improvement - particularly at Macclesfield, home to Chester and for much of the opening 45 at the weekend.

But Pools have very little to show for their efforts so far.
With all that in mind, Deverdics feels like that first win, and break in luck, is only just around the corner.

“Have a look at the points table. Congratulations, you looked good but do not have the points. We don’t want this to continue,” said the ex-Barnet, Gateshead, Blyth Spartans and Gretna man.

“We have to cut out the silly mistakes to turn this around.

“We need that first win on the board. Get the ball rolling we will look a different side. When something clicks we will be off.

“What we have to do is draw a line under what has happened - it has been a real welcome to this league for us.

“But we are confident we can turn this around.

“Sooner rather than later we want to give the fans something to shout about.”

Mentality, and dealing with the challenge at this level, is something that has been picked out by the manager in recent weeks as a flaw in his side.

Deverdics admits that Pools have so far struggled to get a grasp on the task that faces them at in the National League, especially being a perceived big fish in a small pond.

“Hartlepool United are a scalp at this level - there’s absolutely no doubt about that,” said Deverdics.

“It is no good playing into the opposition’s hands all of the time.

“We need to put it on teams and stamp our authority.

“We are giving teams a head start and it has to stop.”

While confidence has taken a knock off the field, on it Pools’ players are sure they have the ability in their ranks to turn their season around.

Deverdics is unwavering in his belief that the squad assembled by Craig Harrison at Victoria Park has all the class and quality to flip a disaster start into a successful campaign long-term.

“We need to play like we are the team we know we are,” he said.

“No one else knows that we are that good. We know it.

“We have no doubt about the ability we have here.

“It is about showing that on the field, for a full 90 minutes and making sure we cut out the silly defensive mistakes that are costly us points, week after week.”