Hartlepool United’s Michael Woods says Pools can turn it on AND tough it out

Michael Woods against York. Picture by CHRIS HORSLEY
Michael Woods against York. Picture by CHRIS HORSLEY

Matchwinner Michael Woods says Hartlepool United have the ability to turn it on AND tough it out this season.

Pools have won both of their League Two games to date and while the table is in its embryonic stage, Ronnie Moore and Sam Collins occupy the club’s highest position since there was a coaltion government.

Michael Woods celebrates after scoring his goal against York. Picture by CHRIS HORSLEY

Michael Woods celebrates after scoring his goal against York. Picture by CHRIS HORSLEY

Pools have performed superbly to win all three matches - a 1-0 cup shock at Fleetwood Town sandwiching the Sky Bet League victories over Morecambe and York City.

They have had to show a mixture of silk and steel so far and Woods says the team are capable of tackling any challenge thrown at them.

“Last season we struggled a bit with direct teams,” said

“This season I think we can mix it.

This season I think we can mix it

Michael Woods

“If it’s a game of football, we can out-football teams and if we need to grind it out we can do that.

“The first half wasn’t great at York but we dug in.

“It’s the sign of a good side to win games like that even when you are not 100 per cent.

“Last year when we went behind we didn’t come back many times and we didn’t win enough away from home.

“Now it’s one away game, one win – not a bad start.

“The gaffer will be back hopefully and he will give us all a lift again.

“Another positive result [tonight] and it’s looking rosy.”

The three-man midfield is certainly looking good and they are performing a crucial role for the side.

Instead of 3-5-2, Pools have opened the season playing 4-3-3 in each of their three wins.

It is a formation Woods is comfortable with alongside Nicky Featherstone and Carl Magnay.

While Woods and Featherstone are happy in both halves of the field, Magnay has predominantly been in his own territory, just ahead of the back four.

“Nicky’s like me, he likes to get the ball on the deck and play,” said Woods.

“Mags was great in the holding role.

“Naturally, he’s been a defender all his life so when the ball is in the air he is comfortable winning it.

“But if it’s a footballing game, he’s just as good on the deck.”

Woods was the hero at Bootham Crescent, his winner nine minutes from time sinking his local club, York.

As has been well documented, the 25-year-old simply running about now would be an achievement in itself, never mind playing football.

After suffering a dislocated ankle and fractured fibula in the win over Wimbledon in February, the specialist had told him he’d only be back in full training by the end of pre-season.

But after something of a long and lonely summer, he got himself back on his feet and then back to fitness with the aid of physio Ian Gallagher.

He took part in pre-season training and has started every game so far.

“I’m still ahead of schedule, the surgeon still wants to see me back in two or three weeks time!” he smiled.

“I’m getting there [to full fitness].

“You can’t match the intensity of games in pre-season that you get in the season.

“I’m struggling at times on the hard pitches - it’s tough on the joints, playing twice a week but that’s what I need for my match fitness.”