Pools turn attention to Oldham Athletic’s trip to Preston North End

Hartlepool boss John Hughes during the defeat at Oldham Athletic
Hartlepool boss John Hughes during the defeat at Oldham Athletic

JOHN Hughes will turn his attention to Deepdale tonight as he concedes Hartlepool United’s League One fate is out of their hands.

Oldham Athletic, five points clear of Pools in 20th position, travel to Preston North End for the first of three games in hand.

Pools’ survival hopes depend on The Latics suffering an end-of-season collapse but, should they collect just five points from their six remaining matches, Hughes’ men will be relegated.

“Even when we were doing well you know you can only look after yourselves, but you still need others to slip up,” he said, “And that’s the stage we’re at now.

“Everyone has something to play for, all we can do is dig in there and you never know.

“Our win on Saturday keeps the survival hopes ticking along.”

And Hughes admits Pools will need a repeat of last Saturday – victory over Bury coupled with defeats for their relegation rivals – over the course of the next three weekends.

“Everything went our way and that’s what we’re going to need,” he said.

“But hopefully we’re the ones with a little bit of momentum now.

“We’ve got that win and it might just inspire us to go on another run, it’s going to have to be that way.”

Pools’ next outing is at Tranmere Rovers on Saturday.

The Wirral club have lost five of the last six to put paid to their automatic-promotion hopes, although they still reside just two points outside the play-off zone.

And Hughes went on: “Tranmere are still looking to get in the play-offs so there might be a bit of trepidation in there.

“We’ll be going there giving it a right good go.

“There should be no need to rouse them, they’ll know what is at stake.

“We’ve still got a chance with three games to go and you would never have thought that at Christmas.”