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Ronnie Moore demands Pools aren’t intimidated by ‘frightening’ Portsmouth crowd

INTIMIDATION: Ronnie Moore
INTIMIDATION: Ronnie Moore

RONNIE Moore says his Hartlepool United players mustn’t be overawed by the intimidating atmosphere at Fratton Park on Saturday.

Pools travel to Portsmouth looking to put a further dent in the seven point gap to safety.

But they will have to first overcome the noisy atmosphere produced by the Pompey faithful with upwards of 15,000 attending their home games.

The Pools players are more used to playing in front of 3,000 to 4,000 and Moore admits big crowds can “frighten” some players.

He wants his team to build on the 3-2 win over Plymouth Argyle against Andy Awford’s under pressure side, who are just two points above the drop-zone.

“I hope we are not overawed by the atmosphere at Portsmouth,” Moore told SportMail.

“If you can’t enjoy playing in front of 15,000 people then there is something wrong.

“I have been there with Tranmere and there was a similar number there then and they frightened the life out of our lads.

“We ended up getting beat 3-0 so it can have an affect.

“But the confidence is quite high at this moment in time and I am looking forward to it.

“Mind, I haven’t won many games down there so it would be nice to put that right!”

Pools – and their away following – face a 12-hour round trip and more than 650 miles on the road this weekend and Moore hopes his side have something to show for it.

Victory over Argyle closed the gap to seven points and it dragged several other teams into the relegation battle.

Pompey drew 0-0 away at Wycombe Wanderers on Saturday, a result which gave boss Awford some breathing space.

But he is under increasing pressure with his side 18th in League Two.

Moore insists it will be another difficult afternoon for his side though, buoyed by two wins out of four and improved performances.

Moore, a manager of the month nominee for January, said: “It is a long way to go down to Portsmouth.

“There aren’t any easy games and nothing really between the top and bottom teams.

“We played well at Shrewsbury but lost in in the second half, did well at Wycombe but got beat narrowly.

“We are capable of going anywhere and winning.

“It is just getting the right formation.”

Meanwhile, one player Pools won’t be facing is on-loan Portsmouth striker Paul McCallum after he was this week banned for seven matches after his furious reaction to being sent off against Southend United.

The West Ham youngster was dismissed for violent conduct amid a 2-1 defeat at the end of last month.

But the 21-year-old then appeared to raise a hand to referee Lee Collins and had to be dragged away by team-mates.

He’d already been given a three-match ban for the red card, with a further four matches for the reaction.