Ronnie Moore insists Hartlepool United’s forwards need to work harder

Hartlepool Manager Ronnie Moore.
Hartlepool Manager Ronnie Moore.

Ronnie Moore has never been less than honest as boss of Hartlepool United.

If there has been a bad performance or a calamitous mistake, he has not looked for excuses and will give a straight assessment.

If they can’t hold up the ball then we’re going to come under pressure.

Some woeful defending has been highlighted, in particular, but, with the crucial FA Cup clash with Cheltenham just three days away, Moore has stressed the need for all sectors of the side to function.

Only the goalkeeping area could be exempt of any criticism from Saturday’s 2-0 defeat at Wimbledon.

The problems really began up front, where the Pools forward line had an off-day in South-West London on Saturday, when Rakish Bingham and Billy Paynter either lost the ball too easily if they got to it in the first place.

It meant Wimbledon dominated possession and kept the Pools defence under constant pressure.

The Pools boss admitted: “It came back from up top too easily, from Bings and sometimes from Billy.

“It’s not really Bings’ game, the ball into feet, we kept saying to him to get on the defender’s shoulder and let Billy come for the other balls.

“If they can’t hold up the ball then we’re going to come under pressure.

“When you have it, you need to keep it, pass it, get the midfielders on it, play little balls.

“But when you keep losing it, everyone gets frustrated.”

Bingham was substituted midway through the second half while Paynter came off late on.

The arrival of Scottt Fenwick made a significant improvement and the team’s second-top scorer will be a strong contender for a starting spot against Cheltenham.

Pools did improve in the second half against the Wombles, but the first period was as bad as the previous week against Crawley.

And Moore knows if Pools are not effective in the opposition half it will cause their own rearguard problems.

“We are defending deep, but that’s because we never passed it, never looked like we were going to score and the hold up play wasn’t good enough,” he said.

“The strikers gave the ball way too easily and we were constantly under the cosh particularly the last 25 minutes of the first half.”

Moore is likely to make changes in all areas with the exception of goal.

Scott Harrison will come into defence, Jason Banton could get his first start wide on the left while Fenwick is almost certain to start.