Hartlepool United-Crewe Alexandra: Be bold, says boss Dave Jones

Nathan Thomas pokes home his 82nd-minute goal at Colchester
Nathan Thomas pokes home his 82nd-minute goal at Colchester

Dave Jones will send out his Hartlepool United players against Crewe Alexandra with a two-word parting shot: Be bold.

Pools face Crewe at the Northern Gas & Power Stadium tonight in a match vital to their League Two future (kick-off 7.45pm).

I’d rather they whacked it 50 yards over the bar becuase they are trying something


Jones was both encouraged and frustrated by Saturday’s battling 2-1 defeat at promotion-chasing Colchester, happy with the spirit and football but irked by lapses in concentration.

The Pools boss said in SportMail yesterday that he wanted his players to believe in themselves.

He is now looking not just for better execution on the park but a braver approach. Nathan Thomas looked more like his old self at the Weston Homes Stadium, where he not only scored his eighth goal of the season but took on the opposition, even if his last ball did not always match his bright approach play.

“We’d said to him to be a bit more direct,” said Jones. “Nathan, like one or two others, got into good areas then not utilised those positions.

“We want more from him and others.

“I’m not having a go at them at all, but in those positions you have to do better with it

“Sometimes I think players at this level get told ‘you are a League Two player, don’t do this, don’t do that’.

“Technically, our players are very good, but they need more belief in their own ability when they get into the right places.

“I feel for them because to control the game like we did and end on the losing side is not where we should be.

“That’s the mentality I’m trying to change.”

Jones wants to see his players succeed but he’d love to see them chancing their arm in shooting positions and from set-pieces.

“The players have to stop trying to play safe,” he said. “When we have a free-kick or corner they are trying to play the safe ball.

“I’d rather they whacked it 50 yards over the bar because they are trying something.

“You can see things happening in terms of our play, but you want results too.”

Pools go into tonight’s match just four points and four places behind 18th-placed Crewe.

They also go into the fixture on the back of three games without defeat at the Vic.

The last home match ended in mild disappointment, a 1-1 draw with Plymouth, and there were some pained expressions on Saturday when they lost 2-1 to the U’s despite a good display.

“One or two were feeling sorry for themselves,” said Jones. “But at this level you always seem to get a chance to put things right very quickly.”

That comes tonight and Jones wants his side to take a leaf out of the last Vic contest when they took the lead, Argyle requiring a brilliant late goal to snatch a point.

“All the games are important,” said Jones. “We have played well at home last time out and if we play as well as we played on Saturday, we will be more than happy.

“We continued from where we left off against Plymouth.

“What we didn’t do, which we did against Plymouth, was to get our noses in front.

“We have to get our noses in front and not give goals away like we did on Saturday.”