Hartlepool United boss sets his players TWO targets before end of National League season

Pools' Michael Woods celebrates his opening goal at Maidstone yesterday.
Pools' Michael Woods celebrates his opening goal at Maidstone yesterday.

Matthew Bates has set his Hartlepool United players TWO specific targets before the close of the National League season.

While staying up is an obvious one, the caretaker manager also wants his players to make sure they firstly maintain their unbeaten run for as long as possible, as well as making sure they keep their win-streak on the go.

“We have two little challenges for the team now,” said Bates after watching Michael Woods net twice in a 2-1 win over Maidstone United at the Gallagher Stadium yesterday afternoon.

“I want them to see how long they can stay unbeaten and I also want them to see how long they can keep their win-streak going.

“It is important that we manage things moving forward.”

One thing that is for certain is that Bates is not looking beyond the threat of relegation.

Pools might be seven points clear of the bottom four now, having picked up 11 points from their last 15 in the fifth tier, but Bates will not let his players rest on their laurels.

When asked about edging closer to safety with a win, Bates said: “How close are we? We don’t know.

“We are still on the brink.

“If we go and lose two and the teams below win, we are right back where we were.

“So, all we have to think about is going out to win games.

“We are still not looking up we just want to get away from the relegation zone.”

The caretaker continued: “Until it is mathematically impossible for us to go down, we need to keep winning.

“We have had a turnaround in results, but it could happen to anyone else as well.

“The teams below us are fighting for their lives.

“We need to keep going, stick to the basics, our philosophy and that’s the way it has to be.

“The basics are hard-work.

“The performances have come because of that hard work.

“I can’t praise the players enough.”