Hartlepool United must be “at it” every match of the season if they are to win promotion.
That was the frank assessment of Craig Harrison after Pools slipped back into the bottom half of the National League following Saturday’s 3-0 defeat at Ebbsfleet.
Just like the previous weekend against Aldershot, Pools had the opportunity to get closer to the play-off zone, only to fall down the table instead.
It makes the next two Saturdays vital when they take on two sides with automatic promotion aspirations – third-placed Macclesfield (H) and Dover (A), who have dropped to fifth having been top dogs.
“They are all big games,” insisted Harrison.
“We want to get out of this league at the first time of asking so they are all big matches.
“We need to be at it every game.
“Every player, every match day, that’s what will get us out of the league.”
Pools failed to score for the third match in the last four and were sunk near the Thames by goals from Myles Weston, Danny Kedwell and Luke Coulson.
“The bonus in football is you always get an opportunity to put the wrongs right,” said the boss.
“Ideally we’d have liked a game on Tuesday night but we’ll have to wait until Saturday.
“We’re back at home which is good and it’s an opportunity to get three points against Macclesfield.
“We had put a good run together and seemed to be on the verge of it, but then we have a poor result, a good result and then this.
“We need to find the consistency to push us up to be in the mix.
“It’s just so frustrating and disappointing.
“We’ve not played anywhere near how we played on Tuesday against Halifax.
“We need to have a better level of performance.
“That’s the first time we’ve conceded three times in the league and it’s not good enough.”