Hartlepool United are NOT out of contention

Hartlepool United manager Craig Harrison.
Hartlepool United manager Craig Harrison.

Craig Harrison insists Hartlepool United remain in contention for National League honours – despite another failure to move to within touching distance of the top seven.

Pools are 13th in the table after picking up only four points from a possible 15.

We have been fortunate other teams haven’t taken advantage of our slip


Harrison’s side could have moved up to a season’s high of ninth had they held onto the lead given to them by Michael Woods against Macclesfield.

But Pools threw it away with negligent defending and they are five points shy of the play-offs going into the trip to Dover Athletic.

But Harrison has been heartened by not only the quality of football Pools produced but also the fact team are still in touch.

“It’s not as if we are five off the play-offs with two games left,” he said.

“We have to stay on the front foot and need to do as much as we can to get on a run – three or four wins in a row will get us in there.

“We have been fortunate other teams haven’t taken advantage of our slip.

“Before kick-off, we were four points off the top seven, one point off the play-offs with 10 minutes to go and come full-time we were five.

“We lost three points but we are still in contention and we must make sure we don’t go away from this way of playing.

“We need to play like that – the last two home games have been very good, aside from giving away those two goals.”

Harrison explained he was “fuming” at how Pools gifted the spoils to the Silkmen but stressed the attacking intent was promising from his team.

“We have dominated for 85 minutes and then gave two poor, poor goals away.

“We can’t just go negative, negative, negative, otherwise we’ll end up going backwards.

“We have to be positive and move forward, we need to capture that first 85 minutes and add another 10 minutes on top, whether that’s scoring more goals or seeing the game out.”

Pools failed to translate pressure and possession into goals but Jonathan Franks could return at the Crabble Ground should physio, Phil Bulmer, give him the green light.

Franks is the top scorer to date on six goals, but has missed the last three matches with a hamstring strain.