RONNIE Moore has told his Hartlepool United players to go out and win the league!
The prize in question is to top the mini-division at the bottom of the Football League.
While Carlisle, Mansfield and Cambridge are still on the fringe of the drop zone, the probability is that the relegation places will be filled by two of Pools, Cheltenham and Tranmere.
Three wins against Luton (a), Exeter (h) and Carlisle (a) and Pools will be safe – no matter what happens elsewhere.
But for Moore it’s all about finishing above Cheltenham and Tranmere and that means aiming for the three points at Luton tomorrow (kick-off 3pm).
“With three games to go it’s a mini-league,” said the boss.
“Can we finish top of that? If we do, we’re safe.”
The bottom two, Tranmere (39 points) and Cheltenham (40), are breathing down the necks of Pools (41).
But Pools head the form table of the bottom six and Moore remains confident his side have got what it takes to stay away from the trapdoor.
“We have no right to still be in this league really because of past results,” he said.
“But now, realistically, there are three teams in it. Two will go and one will survive and we’ve got to make sure it’s us that survive.
“Luton and Exeter are hard games, both against play-off chasing teams.
“It shows how well Luton have done – people say they are not paying particularly well but they are three points off the play-offs after only winning one in nine.
“It’s a tough one tomorrow, but we’d like to think we can give them a game too.”
In terms of form Pools are in much better nick than Luton.
The Hatters have taken only four points from a possible 24, compared to 14 for Pools.
Moore knows his side are more than capable of getting the required the results and does not want them being weighed down with the p-word – pressure.
“There are three games to go, the lads know the position we are in,” he said.
“The trick is now handling the pressure that comes from being third from bottom.
“The pressure when you are bottom or second bottom is non-existent because you are expected [to go down].
“But all of a sudden here, it’s ‘hang on a minute. we’ve got our head above water here’.
“It’s how we deal with that.
“I’ve said to the players ‘just enjoy being a footballer’.
“What pressure is there being a footballer? Go out and play and enjoy it, that’s what we’re trying to instil in them/
“Hopefully if that message sinks in then we’re going to be all right.
“There are three games to go and we’re top of that league.
“Let’s hope when we finish that last game at Carlisle we’ll be top of that league.”