Ronnie Moore warns Hartlepool United players to be prepared for a battle against Cambridge

Hartlepool United's Ronnie Moore.
Hartlepool United's Ronnie Moore.

Ronnie Moore said Hartlepool United will have to be braced for a physical test when they return to Victoria Park.

For the second successive Saturday, Pools take on a side who have just enjoyed a result against League Two leaders Leyton Orient.

We’ll need to be physical, we’ll have to change our approach.

Last week it was Exeter, who had mauled the O’s 4-0, while this weekend Pools play host to Cambridge United, who drew 1-1 with the Londoners.

It is a mid-table battle – Pools are 14th and two places below their visitors on goal difference – and battle could be the operative word.

The U’s bring a reputation for direct and physical play, something Pools experienced last time out in the league at the Vic, against Carlisle.

This season has been one of contrasts, with some sides opting for a pure form of football with others preferring to get the ball in the box and play a pressure game.

Moore could have been trotting out an often-used line from Monty Python’s Flying Circus when looking ahead to the confrontation with Cambridge following the match with Exeter.

“Saturday will be completely different,” said Moore, whose side were unfortunate to come away from St James Park empty-handed after a 1-0 defeat.

“There will be long balls and throws bombed in for flick-ons and we’ll be coming up against 6ft 3in lads and the like.

“We’ll need to be physical, we’ll have to change our approach.

“Yes, when we get the ball, we want to get it down and play.

“But we know we have to be prepared to defend long throws, long balls but that’s what this league is about.”

Pools gained a lot of admirers and took a lot of positives from the way they performed against Exeter.

Such was the footballing ethos of the Grecians, from one free-kick they ignored one excellent opportunity to put the ball into the Pools box, played it short and tried to pass their way through.

“Sometimes it is going to be different and we looked like doing a job [at Exeter],” said Moore, who hopes to have skipper Billy Paynter back this weekend.

“When you consider they beat Orient 4-0 last week, we went and did the job we wanted to do.

“We it set up the way we wanted to play and every player did everything we asked of them.

“It looked nailed on 0-0 and I never saw their goal coming.

“Sooner or later it will change, but only by keeping believing in what we are trying to do.”

The main positive gleaned from their fourth league defeat was their defensive display.

“We worked a lot on the back four – you could see that on Saturday,” added Moore.