Hartlepool United have best men AND best players

Michael Woods celebrates victory at Torquay. Picture by Gareth Williams/AHPIX.com.
Michael Woods celebrates victory at Torquay. Picture by Gareth Williams/AHPIX.com.

Craig Harrison believes Hartlepool United have the best men as well as the best players to maintain their promotion bid.

Pools have shaken off a woeful start to the season – picking up two points from a possible 18 .

Saturday’s 2-0 victory at Torquay was the club’s fourth on their travels and moved them to within a point of the National League’s top seven.

It has been an amazing turnaround by Pools, who have lost just one of their last 13 matches in league and cup.

Harrison has put the transformation down to the strength of character, as well as some good football.

“I think it’s down to the personalities of our people, first and foremost,” he told SportMail.

I get the sense these lads thrive off one another, you can see that by how hard they work for each other

“I get the sense these lads thrive off one another, you can see that by how hard they work for each other and put a shift in.

“That’s hard to get. In football you’ll sometimes see players with quality who don’t want to put the hard work in.

“Or you get players who will put in the work but perhaps don’t have the quality.

“We have players who have the quality and will put in the graft.

“These lads will run through a brick wall for each other, you saw that at Torquay.

“The group we have and the ethos of the group is the key, look at the main figures like Scott Loach, Carl Magnay, Nicky Featherstone, Michael Woods, and what they bring.

“But it’s everyone who is contributing, the spirit is special, and it’s comes from the lads, it’s something which can’t be fabricated.”

Harrison has been impressed how the crop of new players – and there were plenty of those in the summer – have come together with those figures he inherited.

And the 39-year-old explained that his insistence on bringing in the right characters into Victoria Park is paying dividends.

“It has to be for me because when you are put under pressure, you revert to type,” said Harrison, who takes Pools to Morecambe this Saturday in the first round of the FA Cup.

“I want good characters, I want men.

“The major part of recruitment is recruiting solid people, obviously they have to be able to play football as well, that goes without saying.

“But you need solid people for when the chips are down.

“That was proven when we had not won in the first six games.

“Everyone came together, no-one hung anyone out to dry, no-one broke ranks, every one stuck together.

“You look how that’s panned out – 13 games on since Fylde and we’ve only lost one match.”

Harrison pointed to two players for an example of the attitude of his players – Luke George who made his full debut at Plainmoor and Scott Harrison who came on late on.

“They accept not playing,” said the boss. “But look at them when they do get an opportunity, Scott came on at the end and what a block. He has made a contribution.

“Don’t get me wrong he wants to play [from the start], they all want to play, but I can only pick 11.

“The most important thing is the professionalism, the character, accepting things about being part of a group. That’s special.”