Hartlepool United League Two relegation run-in: Newport capable of wins

Nathan Thomas shoots in the impressive Pools display at Blackpool
Nathan Thomas shoots in the impressive Pools display at Blackpool

Six of the best.

That’s what Hartlepool United need to see out the Football League programme.

If they don’t, they might be seeing the end of their Football League days.

Pools are five points clear of the relegation zone, but it would seem they would need at least two wins from their remaining six matches to cement their place for next season.

Dave Jones’s side appear to have as good a run-in as any of their rivals at the bottom which looks like good news for the blue & white army.

However, Newport’s does not look bad either and should Cheltenham or Pools founder in the coming weeks, County could take advantage.

Leyton Orient 32 points, Goal Difference -31

Apr 8: Cambridge A

Apr 14: Luton A

Apr 17: Pools H

Apr 22: Crewe A

Apr 29: Colchester H

May 6: Blackpool A

Prospects: In one word – doomed.

The club , onto their SIXTH manager of the season, have lost five in a row and conceded 17 in the process. There is no way out for the Eastenders, though they might relish the chance of taking Pools with them by beating them on Easter Monday.

Newport County 36 pts, GD-20

Apr 8: Exeter A

Apr 14: Yeovil H

Apr 17: Plymouth A

Apr 22: Accrington H

Apr 29: Carlisle A

May 6: Notts Co H

Prospects: Not great.

But they look capable of getting three wins from the above list, given their home ‘pitch’ advantage and lift in form.

County were 11 points adrift at the bottom of League Two when Mike Flynn replaced Graham Westley last month but they have won three of the Newport man’s six games in charge.

They are the form team at the bottom end, with the club cleverly using a County man through and through in Flynn and, just as wisely, employing the shrewd old head of Lennie Lawrence alongside him.

Pools 41 pts, GD -18

Apr 8: Morecambe A

Apr 14: Carlisle H

Apr 17: Leyton Orient A

Apr 22: Barnet H

Apr 29: Cheltenham A

May 6: Doncaster H

Prospects: Should NOT go down from here.

It is in Pools’ hands, that’s for sure. With the exception of Doncaster, that run-in looks as appealing as any listed here.

Three defeats on the spin has meant the gap with the drop zone has closed but, to be fair, Pools have had a very testing sequence of games against high-performing teams.

Pools have produced some good football against Blackpool and Portsmouth especially but only found the net once, at Bloomfield Road.

But they do have the strike power with Padraig Amond, Lewis Alessandra and Nathan Thomas having 31 goals between them.

Cheltenham 42 pts, GD -14

Apr 8: Wycombe A

Apr 14: Crawley A

Apr 17: Grimsby H

Apr 22: Blackpool A

Apr 29: Pools H

May 6: Portsmouth A

Prospects: In danger.

You would rather be where Cheltenham are than Newport, but they have a testing finale, with four of their fixtures away from home.

Only Pools have a worse record on the road than the Robins, who returned to the Football League 11 months ago.

They are better at home and Cheltenham, under the guidance of assistant Russell Milton, ended a run of four straight defeats with a 3-1 win against Morecambe at the weekend.

Boss Gary Johnson watched from the stand after returning to Whaddon Road for the first time after recovering from triple-heart-bypass surgery.