Matthew Bates discusses Solihull Moors challenge and Hartlepool’s defensive record

Matthew Bates.
Matthew Bates.

Hartlepool United will be taken out of their comfort zone at Solihull Moors, according to boss Matthew Bates.

But the Pools manager is backing his side to survive the test at one of the toughest places to visit in the National League.

“It is a hard place to go. It is not easy for anyone,” said Bates.

“We are expecting a tough game against them, as we do against everyone this season.

“I am expecting a good game, but a tough one all the same.

“Still we are happy where we are at but we have to keep going. We go again Saturday.”

Bates’ men sit sixth in the fifth-tier table heading into the weekend - three points off the top.

A win is unlikely to see them go top, but would keep them right in the promotion mix with a fifth of this season’s games already played.

Bates has been impressed with what he has seen from the teams at the top end, as well as his own side in the defensive third.

“Teams who get promoted can go again. Sometimes they keep the same team and have a feelgood factor and the momentum carries them through,” said Bates.

“Well done to Harrogate. They have started well, so have we and some others.

“I am not really worried where we are at the moment.

“We just need to keep picking up points and plugging away.”

On defending, Bates continued: “The clean sheet pleased me. It pleased everyone - the strikers, the midfielders and the defenders.

“Gone are the days when it is just the back three or four who defend. It is the whole team now.

“It was disappointing not to get the win. But it was not our day and we move on.”