Hartlepool United v Doncaster: Go be a hero on TV, boss tells players

Matthew Bates. Picture by Frank Reid
Matthew Bates. Picture by Frank Reid

Matthew Bates says tomorrow night’s second-bottom v second-top confrontation against Doncaster in front of the Sky Sports cameras is the perfect stage for a Hartlepool United player to “be a hero”.

With the title up for grabs and relegation on the line, the satellite station chose this northern battle for live transmission on the last evening of the regular League Two calendar.

You have to look it as a positive – one of our players can be a hero


Pools must beat Rovers and hope Newport can’t beat Notts County at Rodney Parade to survive in the EFL.

Doncaster, meanwhile, trail Plymouth by a point in the title race, with Argyle visiting Grimsby.

Bates says the presence of Sky at the game does not add any pressure as the satellite station pitches up at the ground where the title and last relegation place are set to be decided.

“You have to look it as a positive – one of our players can be a hero,” he said.

“That’s the way we have to look at it.

“Most of the players have played in front of the cameras before.

“They will be fine – once the whistle blows, they won’t even think about the cameras.

“If there’s added pressure on us, then there is as much on them, it’s six and two threes.”

Bates added there would be no distractions either by the events behind the scenes this week at the Northern Gas & Power Stadium.

Chairman Gary Coxall stood down, though he remains the main shareholder at the club, with just shy of a 50% stake. Pam Duxbury has taken the chair role.

“I heard on Tuesday, I don’t know the ins and outs of it, to be honest,” said Bates. “Pam’s stepped up to chairwoman and that’s as far as I know for now.

“I’m sure things will come out in the coming weeks.

“I’d heard stuff about pitch invasions and all that [being planned]. But what I’d say to fans is ‘get behind us, let’s forget about it and get on with winning the game’.

“What goes on behind the scenes is nothing to do with the players. For us, it’s business as usual.”