MICHAEL Woods has never experienced anything in football similar to the “morgue-like” atmosphere at Hartlepool United at the turn of the year.
But he insists the new faces and influence of Ronnie Moore have brought a fresh belief and confidence that Pools can escape relegation this season.
Woods, still frustrated following the 3-1 defeat to Stevenage at Victoria Park, says there is a different atmosphere now inside the dressing room and training ground.
The squad still faces a mammoth task to avoid the drop into the Conference though, with defeat to Stevenage leaving them seven points adrift at the foot of Sky Bet League Two ahead of Saturday’s visit to Bury.
“The belief and confidence is still there, definitely,” a positive Woods told SportMail.
“The atmosphere has changed massively over the past four or five weeks.
“If you had come in back then it was like a morgue and nothing like I have ever experienced in my life in football. But over the last few weeks there has been a different environment.
“I know we lost against Stevenage but there has still been a buzz at the training ground.
“You can sense the disappointment, after the game especially but that drive to say ‘come on, get couple of wins on the spin’ is still there though.
“The new signings have helped on that front.
“[David] Mirfin’s experience at the back has been a big help, [Aaron Tshibola] Tish has been great and I have enjoyed playing with him.
“Marv [Marvin Morgan] hasn’t played a lot of games but played three last week.
“The gaffer will try to get one or two more if he can - that will help us.
“Four or five wins on the spin and we are straight back in it.”
The 24-year-old former Leeds United and Chelsea youth player has been one of Moore’s stand-out performers in recent weeks, playing alongside Reading loanee Tshibola in the centre of midfield.
He was the star man in the defeat to Stevenage, a missed opportunity for Pools which could have seen them cut the points difference to seven with a win.
Woods added: “I am happy to be playing and the manager has shown faith in me.
“I feel like me and Tish have a good partnership going.
“We both try to get on the ball but it was difficult against Stevenage at times.
“It was nice to have Compo [Jack Compton] back in the side, I saw the manager’s comments about him last week but he has all the ability in the world and on his day is a matchwinner.
“Franksy is the same and if he is on it he can be unplayable.
“But we know we need four or five wins on the bounce if we are to have a chance.
“We cannot fear anyone but the games are running out - that is the problem and we need points quickly.
“Stevenage was massive, the gap could have gone down to four points.
“We still have to play a lot of teams around us and there are a few six pointers in there.
“The lads aren’t daft though - we need to pick up wins quickly.”