Hartlepool Utd v Maidstone: Rejuvenated midfielder Michael Woods fired up to build on first victory

Michael Woods in action for Pools at Guiseley. Picture by Frank Reid
Michael Woods in action for Pools at Guiseley. Picture by Frank Reid

Hartlepool United have got to hit the ground running when they return to Victoria Park tomorrow.

That was message from Michael Woods as Pools tackle Maidstone, seven days after one of the poorest displays in recent history.

Pools truly plumbed the depths in a 2-0 defeat to Fylde though, thankfully, they did register their first National League win on Monday, a 1-0 backs-to-the-wall victory at Guiseley.

And a rejuvenated Woods has implored Pools to now produce the goods in front of their own fans and clinch three points at the Vic.

“We have to back Monday up, that’s for sure,” said Woods, who played his heart out at Nethermoor. “We’ll be looking to start quickly and get at them.

“At home, we’re really going to have to take the game to the opposition and get the crowd behind us.

“Maidstone look a good side, but we have to concentrate on ourselves.

“I believe if we are on it and we go about our business right then we are more than a match for anyone.”

Pools are hoping for big crowd tomorrow against the Stones after the club slashed admission prices to £5 for adults and just a quid for kids.

And the midfielder hopes a vibrant home support will be cheering the side to a win to take them out of the bottom four, but added that the onus was on the players to set the time tomorrow after last week’s ‘effort’.

“You look at the league and a couple of wins soon moves you back up the table and that makes things seem a whole lot rosier,” said the 26-year-old. “I think there will be a decent crowd, the club has put a very good offer on.

“It’s up to us to give the fans something to get them going.”

The former Chelsea player will be getting stuck in tomorrow, just as he did at Guiseley, where he was reunited in the middle of the park with Nicky Featherstone and Lewis Hawkins.

Monday’s win was down to some good old-fashioned blood and snot, with Jonathan Franks applying a touch of silk with a class finish for the winner.

“We got together after last Saturday’s game and said whatever’s needed to get a result then we’ll do it,” explained Woods. “It wasn’t pretty and I think we just went back to basics.

“We won our battles and Franksy tucked away his chance and I thought we held on well. It was all about getting the result.

“The important thing was how we reacted on Monday – there were a few home truths told in the dressing room after last Saturday.

“People were quick to hold up their hands and take responsibility and that’s important moving forward.

“The main thing is that we learn and then move forward.”

On the topic of moving forward, Woods is happy to be moving again, having been benched since the opening-day defeat to Dover.

“It was disappointing. Everyone wants to play,” he said. “I felt good and strong in pre-season.

“With our competition for places, the manager has gone for the players he thought was best to get results in the following games.

“But you’ve got to make sure that when a chance comes that you take it.

“I’m hoping I did that on Monday to justify my place in the team. The first game was frustrating, Dover came and did a job on us.

“Ever since that first 45 minutes, I’ve been waiting for a chance. I got the shirt Monday and I’m hoping to keep it.”