Hartlepool United need to become more streetwise - that’s the view of boss Craig Harrison.
The Pools manager feels Saturday’s opponents Dover Athletic, who narrowly missed out on last season’s play-offs, showed more National League street smart at Victoria Park.
And as a result, they managed to see out the game, despite Pools having control of the ball, and territory, for much of the encounter.
Harrison believes Pools might just have learned a harsh lesson or two from their weekend outing.
He knows they’ll have to take it on board and learn fast, too, with fifth tier veterans Macclesfield Town up next at Moss Rose tomorrow night.
“They were happy to sit in and defend and they were happy to sit deep, waste time, defend, slow it down,” said Harrison of Pools’ opponents at the weekend.
“It’s about being cute and streetwise and we have to expect that.
“It’s up to the referee to control it, but it will happen and we have to expect it.
“Chris (Kinnear) and his side have done well in this league in previous years and to be honest they know exactly what it’s all about.”
Harrison is not 100% content with the balance of his Pools unit at the moment, despite a number of players missing out on the matchday squad at the weekend
He is insistent that the club push forward with plans to add at least two new faces to their ranks in the coming with weeks, with the focus on competition for places a deciding factor at the club.
A number of trialists remain in the frame, having taken a look at former Middlesbrough trio Junior Mondal, Lewis Maloney and Jonathan Franks as well as former Stoke City defender and Canadian Under-23 international Kosovar Sadiki in recent weeks.
“I’m still trying to get two in,” said Harrison.
“Not much has changed over the last few days. We are still in the same situation.”
One avenue the manager is exploring is the loan market, with one youngster already lined up to come in from Sunderland, but for injury to put the block on the prospect of him pulling on blue and white in the near future.
Reflecting back on Saturday, Harrison is hoping that Pools can build up some momentum in the two away fixtures they have in the next five days, prior to their next outing at the Vic, against Chester City a week tomorrow.
“It’s very much about us, not other teams or results and what’s happened,” said the manager.
“We look at what we can do better and how we can do it better.
“The crowd were disappointed, but they were brilliant. They know the staff and players are just as disappointed. We wanted to come in and win asap and get that momentum rolling, but it hasn’t been.”