Hartlepool United-Tranmere: Rovers won’t relish trip to Vic

Hartlepool United goalkeeper Scott Loach makes a good save at South Shields in the FA Cup. Picture by Peter Talbot.
Hartlepool United goalkeeper Scott Loach makes a good save at South Shields in the FA Cup. Picture by Peter Talbot.

Tranmere Rovers will not be looking forward to a visit to Victoria Park.

That is the view of Scott Loach ahead of tonight’s attractive National League fixture (kick-off 7.45pm).

The lads have stepped up and we’re all fighting for each other and we have a great team spirit

SCOTT LOACH

Pools, in 14th, play host to Rovers, in 15th – not the sort of positions either club, or the pundits, expected to find themselves in one-third of the way through the programme.

But Loach says the place Pools currently occupy is not the be-all and end-all – it’s where they are on April 28, when the clubs will met again at Prenton Park which will matter.

Pools, and Tranmere for that matter, are not that far away from the play-off zone, just three points and six respectively.

And Loach says the health and prospects of Pools can be measured by the way they are performing and scrapping more than the black and white of the league table.

“Whether we are in the play-off positions now is not relevant, it’s where we are in May that counts, in my opinion,” said Loach.

“What we need to do now is keep learning, we lost against Eastleigh but we dusted ourselves down and went again.

“At the start of the season we were getting bullied but the lads have stepped up and we’re all fighting for each other and we have a great team spirit.

“Everyone wants to win together and that’s the difference.”

Loach is expecting a different sort of contest from Tranmere.

The Wirral outfit, many people’s favourites for the title having clocked up a century of points last season when finishing second to Lincoln City, have not had the slickest of starts though their football remains tidy.

“They won’t want to come to us,” said Loach. “They’ll look at us and think ‘Hartlepool are in good form’, they’ll know we are now hard to beat.

“It will be a different kind of game I’m guessing to Saturday.

“They’ll play a lot more football, no disrespect to Sutton, who were very good at what they did.

“We have to be mentally prepared now and think ‘we’ve not lost, let’s take it to them’.

“That’s what you have to do in football.

“We are going to drop points at some stage, that’s a fact, it happens at every level, but like we did against Eastleigh, we’ll dust ourselves down and come back.

“We’ll show character, we’ll quickly park this one and we’ll be back at it again.”

Character was a word firmly in Loach’s thoughts and says there was evidence of that in the way they competed against high-fliers Sutton.

“We’re doing the dogged side of games now,” he said.

“Yes, it’s not always pretty but it’s vital we keep ourselves in games.

“We did [on Saturday], Devante Rodney has gone on a great run and Rhys Oates has got the goal from it.

“If we can keep ourselves in games and keep doing that then we’ll be hard to beat.”