WHILE Neil Austin would readily welcome another clean sheet at Tranmere Rovers tomorrow, the ever-present defender admits he hopes it does not end in stalemate.
Three of Pools’ last eight outings have ended goalless with a watertight backline at times let down by their misfiring attacking comrades.
And the stats don’t bode well for the League One clash at Prenton Park.
Just 39 goals have been scored at the Wirral venue this season, the lowest return in the division, just one behind the grand total at Victoria Park.
And Austin said: “I’ve noticed that along with ourselves they have one of the best defensive records at home this season.
“It won’t be easy going there because they’ve really picked up recently and it could be a case of being tight defensively and hitting them on the counter-attack.
“I really do hope it’s not 0-0 though!
“We’ve got Ryan (Noble) and Luke (James) up front and I think they’ve been a little bit unlucky in recent weeks.
“Maybe we just need that little bit of luck to change for us.”
Pools have recorded an impressive nine clean sheets since the turn of the year with a settled back five of Scott Flinders, Austin, Sam Collins, Peter Hartley and Evan Horwood rarely broken.
And Austin went on: “Our goals-against column isn’t too bad.
“We’ve done well this season as a back five.
“We’ve been together quite a few years now and have a good understanding.”
But Pools’ rearguard was unpicked on two occasions against Chesterfield last weekend as the basement boys came from behind to win 2-1.
That left boss Neale Cooper in a rage and he has demanded more from his men during the final three games of the season.
And Austin insists the players will not be taking their foot off the pedal despite the safety of their mid-table location.
“The gaffer wasn’t happy but the lads were down in the dumps as well last weekend,” he said.
“None of the players think ‘oh, it’s the end of the season, we’re not bothered about this’.
“We’ve got pride to play for and we’ve got to give the fans something back because they’re paying their money.
“We all want to be part of the manager’s plans next season as well and we’ve still got a point to prove because he’ll want to bring his own players in this summer.”