Like lambs to the slaughter.
That’s the way many are describing Hartlepool United’s visit to Portsmouth this weekend.
It is really important that we stop the rot
But Nicky Deverdics reckons that’s nonsense.
He says Pools, despite their troubles, are not heading to Fratton Park to “get smashed”.
The midfielder is of the firm belief that Craig Hignett’s men can cause an upset and head back up to the North East with all three points, however far fetched some may believe that statement to be.
“I’m not the first player to say that we have talent in this squad,” he said.
“We have, though – it’s just that we haven’t shown it any where near enough this season.
“But we know we can go to Portsmouth to cause us problems.
“People think we’re going to go there and get smashed.
“We are not thinking like that at all.
“There would be absolutely no point in us turning up if that was what we believed.
“We feel like we can go there and come away with something. That is what we are aiming to do.”
There’s been plenty of talk of a siege mentality at Pools this week.
And to be fair, the whole world does seem to be against the League Two strugglers at the moment.
Anything and everything that could go wrong for the club, both on and off the field, has done.
Deverdics says it has been a case of lock-down at the club’s training ground this week.
The players had a private meeting without the club’s management team.
And a few home truths were supposedly aired.
“We have a point to prove going down to Portsmouth,” said Deverdics.
“We need to prove to people we can roll our sleeves up and fight for this football club.
“What we have produced in the last fortnight has been unacceptable. We cannot hide behind excuses.
“With those kind of performances we have to accept the criticism that comes with that.
“As players we need to stand up and be counted.
“We know Portsmouth is not the ideal place to try to turn things around, as they are a very good side at the top end of the division.
“But we believe we can.”
A lack of effort, character and application, even a distinct lack of quality, are criticisms that have been levelled at the Pools dressing-room in recent weeks.
Fans have even began to wonder if the Pools players care anymore.
Deverdics has moved to address those fears and frustrations expressed by the punters on the terraces.
“For people to say we do not care is wrong,” said the creative midfielder.
“Of course we care. It is stupid to suggest we don’t.
“We are not happy the way things are going – we want to be a part of a winning team, just like any player.
“We all want the same as the fans.
“It was just three weeks ago that we were talking about the play-offs, clean sheets and winning games.
“But that shows just how quickly things can change in football.
“We need to start to deliver and there is no better place to do that than on Saturday.
“It is really important that we stop the rot.”
On a personal note it has been a bit of an up and down season for the man signed from Dover Athletic in the summer.
Deverdics was a star at the non-league outfit, playing every week and chipping in with a double figures goals tally from the no 10 role.
Things have not been that straight forward at Pools, though.
In and out the team, played in a number of different roles, Deverdics has not quite settled, or cemented his place in the XI just yet.
Deverdics has done his best to lift the gloom at the Northern Gas & Power Stadium.
His flashes of brilliance in recent weeks have given Pools fans rare insights into his quality.
But when asked about his own season, he said: “This isn’t about me.
“I honestly have not been thinking about my own performances.
“Whether Nicky Deverdics, or any other member of the squad, is playing football, or playing well in Hartlepool’s team, is not important at all.
“Things at the moment are much bigger than that.
“We need to get things right as a team. The individuals do not matter.
“It is all about working together, sticking together and getting the results.”