Hartlepool midfielder says togetherness is key ahead of Halifax clash

Luke George
Luke George

Luke George believes the “togetherness” at Hartlepool United will prove crucial in the coming days, weeks and months.

George is set to line up in the centre of the park tonight, when Pools take on out-of-sorts Halifax at Victoria Park (kick-off 7.45pm).

Pools have hardly hit a brick all, or anything like that, in the National League but have encountered something of a sticky patch.

A 3-0 defeat at Morecambe in the FA Cup has been followed by a 0-0 draw at Boreham Wood and a 2-0 home set-back to Aldershot Town.

Both matches saw Pools miss the opportunity to make inroads at the top end of the division, so tonight they will start the 21st round of matches in 14th place.

But George says Pools have nothing to fear in the promotion battle and how their team spirit will be vital.

“We’re a tight group and it has to be,” said George.

“We’ve played teams at the top, middle and bottom and there is not a lot in it.

“I don’t think there is a great deal of difference and I don’t think we should be fearing anyone.

“On our day when we’re at it, I think we are good enough to beat anyone. That togetherness as a group can win us a lot of points.”

Pools’ promotion chances have not been helped by a below-par home record – they have lost more at the Vic than they have won, 4-3, with three draws.

George denies the squad feel any added pressure of playing at the Vic.

“I definitely don’t think it’s that,” said the 25-year-old. “As a footballer, you put a lot of pressure on yourself.

“I think we have to be more ruthless and we need to make Victoria Park a place no-one wants to come to.

“Aldershot won 2-0 here and we’ve not really taken it to them, we must make it hard for the opposition, even if it’s sometimes not pretty.

“Goals change games yet we never really tested their keeper.”

Pools started with a 4-4-2 against the Shots, but it didn’t have the desired effect though George did not blame the formation.

“We worked all week on a system that suited us best,” he said. “I don’t think we were ruthless enough.”

George, if selected, will be making his fifth straight start following his recovery from injury.

“There’s nothing more frustrating than missing games,” said the summer signing from Chester. “I can’t really put it into words.

“I moved to Hartlepool to play football, to win games, to get promotion.

“All of a sudden you can’t really be fully involved because you are on the physio bed. Your mindset changes from looking to win games to trying to get fit.

“It is hard, but I have to give credit to the backroom staff like Phil Bulmer, Shaun McLaren and Craig Hubbard.

“They worked really hard with me and given me a lot of advice and encouragement.

“You do have dark days when you might be feeling a bit down and need lifting or days you need a kick up the backside.

“I feel great, the best I’ve felt in a long time, it’s doesn’t mean there is still a lot of work to be done but I’m getting there.”