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Matthew Bates 'happy' with Hartlepool United's National League start

Hartlepool manager Matthew Bates.
Hartlepool manager Matthew Bates.

Hartlepool United boss Matthew Bates admits he is happy with what his team have achieved in the National League so far.

But the former defender knows there's room for improvement.

Pools sit six points off fifth tier leaders Salford City, and are one place outside the play-offs. They've lost just twice in 14 games this season, once in 11.

Bates has revealed he is delighted with what his players have managed to achieve, especially when using last season as perspective.

Although, he does know his players need to improve in certain areas, if they're to keep pace with those above them and ultimately achieve their pre-season aim of a top seven finish.

"We are happy with where we are in the table, we are happy with the points we have on the board," said Bates, whose side take on Boreham Wood at the Super 6 Stadium on Saturday.

"Last weekend was a missed opportunity.

"We want to win every game we play at home, so it has to be seen as points dropped. But let's put some perspective on it, we have lost one game in 11.

"The disappointment we have reflects on where we were last year and how far we have come in that time.

"We have risen the standards here on and off the field."

No matter who Pools signed, who was at the helm or where they find themselves in the table there were always going to be bumps in the road this season.

While Bates does not think the Aldershot draw was a bump, he is keen for his players to put it right on home soil this weekend.

"I wouldn't call it a bump in the road," he said of last weekend's 1-1 draw.

"We were not expected to go to Salford and win last week but we were expected to beat Aldershot. It was points dropped but no bump in the road.

"What we need to do is make sure we put that right next week at home again."

One problematic area for Pools so far this campaign has been a lack of goals.

They've managed to score just 16 in 14 games, with Liam Noble top scoring with six, followed by Niko Muir with four and Nicky Featherstone with three.

In fact, the last Pools player to score, who was not any of that trio, was Michael Woods all the way back on August 25.

It's a problem Bates is keen to fix.

He understands his side were not good enough in the final third.

When asked by the Mail about whether he felt his side were good enough in an attacking sense on Saturday, Bates said: "No, we were not.

"First half the build up play was slow, I think we have to be a bit more ruthless in the box and we weren't on the day.

"I think that is the first time that I can say that this season. It is something we will look at."