Ronnie Moore wants his players to go out and “express” themselves when Hartlepool United tackle in-form Oxford United.
A clash against the second-placed U’s is about as hard a game as you can get in the division.
No-one thinks we can win this – we do but probably that’s all.RONNIE MOORE
Oxford have lost only once in the last 10 League Two fixtures, with seven wins in that sequence.
However, Moore does not want his players fearing Michael Appleton’s side – he wants an up-and-at-’em approach.
“Oxford under-achieved last season with the players they have,” said Moore. “But not this time, the manager and his staff have done a fantastic job there – they are a big club at our level.
“They are second in the league so this is a big, big tester for us.
“But if I was still playing I’d love a match like this – these are the games you want to be playing in.
“No-one thinks we can win this – we do but probably that’s all.
“If you are trying to have a bet on it – not that I am! – we are the underdogs.
“It’s another massive game again for us, but we are not fearful of anyone.
“What we need to do is go out and express ourselves and show what we can do.
“At this moment on a matchday we are a little nervous, we are giving it away too much,
“But once are composed on the ball, we will match anyone in this division.”
Pools have infuriated Moore over the previous two weekends, going from the brilliant 3-1 win over Leyton Orient back to the bad times last Saturday when they lost by the same scoreline at Mansfield.
“We want to move the ball forwards and I feel there’s another 25 per cent off everyone,” said the manager.
“Let’s get in front, try to play and relax.
“Hopefully, that will happen tomorrow.
“Last weekend, we went backwards in the second half, somewhere I felt we wouldn’t go again.
“At half-time at Mansfield they spoke a great game – and the players I mean.
“They were going to do this and get about them and then we go out and perform like we were 11 strangers.
“Yes, we fell behind to a wonder-goal – although we could have cleared it – and then dropped off.
“There was still half an hour left, time to get back and have a go.
“We should have been confident in ourselves – there should not have be any nerves.
“Let’s be positive, play and express ourselves.
“We need one or two more leaders and one or two to show a bit more confidence.”
And Moore insisted he wants to see Pools play football, not just resort to hoofing possession upfield.
“We don’t want to go long, I don’t tell them that,” explained Moore.
“It’s like we go 2-1 down everyone thinks they have to boot it as long as they can.
“But in the first half we’ve controlled a lot of the game by keeping the ball and passing it.
“I don’t want that, we don’t coach them that.”