MICK Wadsworth has assured supporters that his men won’t be taking their foot off the gas in the last few weeks of the season – not least because they’re playing for their future.
Irish midfielder Joe Gamble last week hit back at suggestion that the players were already on the proverbial beach, instead stating that he had his family’s livelihood to protect.
Indeed, almost the entire senior squad are out of contract this summer.
And, with Wadsworth promising an overhaul of his playing staff in a bid to improve upon the success of this campaign, the Pools stars can ill afford to cruise towards the season’s end.
Throw in the appearance of trialists such as Nathan Luscombe, of Sunderland, and Newcastle United’s Patrick McLaughlin in recent weeks, and the competition among the players is sure to be hotting up.
“There are a lot of contracts up at the end of the season,” Wadsworth told SportMail,
“But everybody is fighting to stay here and that’s what I want and expect.
“People are playing for their livelihood at any club.
“Joe’s an honest, good pro and what he says is absolutely right, we’re all playing for our future, including me.
“Our whole being and livelihood depends on performances and results.
“It’s overtly public, our job, and everyone has got an opinion – you should do this, should pick him.
“But other people’s teams never play, it’s down to me to pick the team and I carry the responsibility of that.”
Saturday’s 3-1 victory over Yeovil Town saw Pools climb 12 points clear of the relegation zone.
Injury, suspension and the relative comfort of the league position could see Wadsworth shuffle his pack in the remaining five matches.
And the Pools boss admits it could be the chance for a few of the players to put themselves in the shop window.
“I want to give a couple of youngsters a chance to play a game or two before the end of the season, but my first loyalty must be with the senior pros,” he said.
“Whether they give themselves a chance of re-engagement here or people see them play and they might get re-engagement elsewhere, that’s the name of the game.”
That rotation is unlikely to happen this weekend at Sheffield Wednesday given the pair of drubbings which The Owls have handed down on Pools already this season – 5-0 in the league and 4-1 in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy.
And the last thing Wadsworth wants to see happen is a third hammering against the team he supported as a boy.
“We’ll be giving absolutely everything regardless of opposition,” he went on.
“But bearing in mind what’s happened against Sheff Wed this season we don’t want to see that again.
“The players here are as keen and as ambitious as I am and they are as dejected as I am after a defeat, so those two games hurt.
“They care as much as our most fervent fans and that’s why I can guarantee we’ll not be letting up in these last few matches.”