Hartlepool United working out mistakes on training pitch ahead of Dover game

Hartlepool United V Macclesfield Town. National League.  Michael Woods celebrates after putting Pools 1-0 up. Picture: TOM BANKS
Hartlepool United V Macclesfield Town. National League. Michael Woods celebrates after putting Pools 1-0 up. Picture: TOM BANKS

Hartlepool United’s players have been worked hard defensively on the training ground in the build-up to the weekend’s National League crunch match at Dover Athletic.

But Craig Harrison insists it is vital they do not forget about the first 90% of Saturday’s home defeat to Macclesfield.

Pools have been grafting at the Racecourse as Harrison, assistant boss, Paul Jenkins, first-team coach Matthew Bates and goalkeeping guru, Bernhard Hirmer, look to eradicate the mistakes which blighted the side in the 2-1 home defeat.

“We have to keep working,” said the former Middlesbrough and Crystal Palace defender.

“We have had a lot of injuries with senior players, but we have to get on with it with what we have and work hard and improve them every day.

“That’s the job of me and the coaches.

“If we have to work harder and longer to make them better then we will. Whatever we have to do we will do. That’s the situation we are in.

“We are not talking finished articles, we aren’t Man City at the top of the Premier League, our players are still learning - We need to learn and learn quickly.

“They must learn in training, be put in those scenarios again – it will be repetition, repetition, repetition.

“Some have not done their jobs out there full stop, We’ve been able to point fingers and put the blame directly at people’s doors.

“It’s up to them to bounce back.”

Harrison explained that there was something to admire last Saturday - the side’s attacking ambition and energy.

“The silver lining is for 85 minutes we were the best team by a country mile,” he said.

“We have had opportunities and controlled play against a team who have been up there at the top for weeks.

“We have to make sure we don’t take away the other 85 minutes, we can’t go backwards, we have to keep moving forwards.

“The last three games has been, performance-wise, as good as we have played even when we were winning games.”

Harrison does want to see his players be more decisive in front of goal.

Pools had 14 attempts at Victoria Park - an even split of 7-7 in the on and off target columns.

But the attacking players have to achieve more than simply making the opposition goalie work.

“We have had plenty of opportunities in the last third,” he said.

“I’d have to go back through the stats but I can’t recall many games where we’ve made the keeper work as much as we did.

“Has there been as many games here when we have worked the keeper as much as that.

“But we didn’t pull the trigger [enough].”