Hartlepool United boss Craig Harrison: Hard work is not punishment for team

Craig Harrison.
Craig Harrison.

Hartlepool United’s players have spent the week doing work, work and more work.

The Pools squad have been busy in the aftermath of the 4-0 thumping at Dover Athletic which saw the side slip to 14th in the National League.

But Craig Harrison insists the extra hours at the training ground have NOT been a case of a punishment ‘beating’ for Saturday’s result.

Famously, celebrated former boss Cyril Knowles had a habit of dropping his players off a Hartlepool Power Station and making them run back to the club from the bottom of Seaton Carew if he was in a bad mood!

“I’ve said it countless times but Pools do not have a dishonest bunch,” explained the manager.

“They are a good set of lads, no-one here just tosses things off, everyone cares.

“They had yesterday off, but they worked hard Monday morning and then again Monday afternoon.

“It was the same Tuesday and they’d put in that much graft we only stopped training on Tuesday because it got dark!

“The extra hours are nothing to do with punishment or flogging the lads.

“They could not be any fitter by this point of the season.

“It’s been about doing all we can to rectify the mistakes.

“It’s been about spending time as a group together working on making Hartlepool United better.

“But it’s not all been done on the training pitch, we’ve done video analysis, we’ve done unit work, we’ve done one-to-ones.

“We’re doing everything we can to improve and when the lads come in today there will be a morning and afternoon session again.”

Pools are five points off the play-offs following their second consecutive heavy defeat in Kent.

Shoddy defending cost Pools dear at the Crabble Athletic Grond where Mitch Pinnock and Ryan Bird helped themselves to braces.

Pools get a break from the league rigours this weekend when they visit Workington in the FA Trophy.

Harrison hopes the ‘magic of the cup’ can inspire a change in fortunes for Pools, who have dominated possession on the last three Saturdays only to lose all three games with an aggregate score of 9-1.

“I don’t think we are a million miles away,” said the 40-year-old.

“If we can click, there is no reason we can’t go on a run again.

“I’ve not had the chance of watching Workington personally but they have been in very good form.

“We’ve had them watched twice and I have reports on them.

“We’ll give them the respect they are due, but like I say, for me it’s more about what we do and how we react.

“I have a dressing room full of hurt players and there needs to be a reaction and that’s what I’m expecting.”

Harrison said he was delighted to have Nicky Deverdics available for the trip to Borough Park after the club successfully appealed the sending off he was given late in the defeat at Dover.

“It’s great news,” he said. “It was never a red card and we are grateful it has been resolved.”

Tickets for Saturday’s tie are on general sale at the Vic.

Pools have been sent an initial allocation of 500 terrace tickets which will remain on sale from the ticket off until 3pm tomorrow.

Fans are advised to buy in advance if possible as, at present, it’s not certain they will be available on the day.

Prices: Adults £13; Over 60 £9; Under 19 £5; Under 12 £3.