Now’s the time for Hartlepool United to get their act together on home turf – that’s the view of manager Craig Harrison.
Pools have got four out of their next six National League fixtures at Victoria Park in the run up to the festive period.
That kicks off with a Vic double-header as Aldershot Town are the visitors on Saturday, followed by Tuesday night’s clash with Halifax Town.
This season Pools, who sit 12th, eight points off the top of the fifth tier, have seen their away form take precedence, with their home performances, and results, letting them down somewhat.
Harrison knows that needs to change.
He believes that if ever there was a time for Pools to stand up and be counted on their home patch, it’s now.
“Win your home games and draw your away games and you won’t be far away,” said Harrison.
“Saturday’s 0-0 draw at Boreham Wood can be classed as a good point if we go and take three against Aldershot and Halifax.
“Seven points out of nine keeps you in real good form and would give us the points tally to be near the top five come the end of the month.
“You want to win all of them, but that’s just not football sometimes.”
Harrison knows that in the coming weeks, as conditions worsen and games come thick and fast, he will need the use of his whole squad.
And while some players in the ranks will have been unhappy at the amount of football they’ve seen this season, it’s impossible to tell, according to the manager.
“We have no sulkers here,” he said.
“My door is always open. Players know they will get a chance – that’s part and parcel of the game.
“But I like to deal with things like men should. If you have a problem come and talk about it.
“You know, honesty is the way forward – we put everything out on the table. If you don’t like it, don’t ask. We talk, then move on.
“It is important to give players something they can do to take away with them and think about.
“Maybe it then triggers them to think ‘if I do that, I might get in the team’.”
Attitude is a key factor in Pools recent run of form, which has taken them from the lower reaches of the division in August, up to the fringes of the promotion race three months later.
“One of the cornerstones of my success at TNS was having five or six players at that club who despite not playing were the best trainers on the park,” explained Harrison.
“That hunger brought everyone up a level. No player was safe in the team and they all trained and played with 100% commitment.
“No player turned up on a Monday morning with a lip on. They all pushed each other to be better.
“As a team we are developing that here. There is a culture growing. And that can only be a good thing.”