JOHN Hughes believes tomorrow’s trip to Swindon Town could prove to be the “battle of the siege mentalities”.
Rather than talk of capitalising on the current off-field issues at the County Ground – manager Paolo Di Canio has threatened to quit following a fallout with the board – Hughes says his former Celtic team-mate will use the situation to galvanise his men.
But the Pools chief is ready to counter that with his own embattled approach, insisting his side are ready for any challenge in the wake of back-to-back victories.
“Nothing should hold any fear for us right now,” Hughes sounded before boarding the team bus to Wiltshire today.
“They have obviously got ambition to make the automatic promotion places and we’re going down there fighting for our lives.
“We’ll be having a real, good go and I just think our mindset and togetherness right now will mean any team knows they have been in a right good game.
“I don’t whether the situation down there will help us.
“I’ve been in that situation at Falkirk and sometimes it can create a siege mentality.
“Knowing Paolo as I do, he’s a clever guy who could start a fight in an empty house, but he can use that to make them feel that everyone is against them.
“We have to be guarded about what we’re up against.
“But we have our own siege mentality so the ingredients are there for a good football match.”
Hughes is likely to keep faith with the same XI which have triumphed against Portsmouth and Notts County.
Tomorrow pitches them against the third-placed Robins, Di Canio’s side unbeaten since November.
But Pools, with three wins in six, are enjoying their best spell of the season, sparking hope of League One survival.
“We said two weeks ago it was 18 cup finals – we’ve won two of them,” he went on.
“But even if we get beat we will dust ourselves down and go again.
“We know we can beat anyone and we’ve said that the best team doesn’t always win a football match.
“But I think the different areas of our side are complimenting each other well right now.
“The front three of Charlie Wyke, Jon Franks and James Poole have good energy, they take people on and link up well.
“There’s mobility there and we know if we get the ball there they can get us a goal.
“We just have to be solid and they can go and win the game for us.
“They are inspiring me right now and long may that continue.”
Antony Sweeney (knee), Steve Howard (hamstring) and Jordan Richards (knee) remain sidelined.
POOLS (probable): Flinders; Austin, Hartley, Collins, Horwood; Walton, Humphreys, Baldwin; Franks, Poole; Wyke. Subs: McHugh, Rutherford, Holden, James, Rowbotham, Monkhouse, Luscombe