SCOTT Flinders has warned the upcoming double header against Wimbledon and Dagenham & Redbridge will make or break Hartlepool United’s season.
Pools are cast adrift at the bottom of Sky Bet League Two, the 1-0 defeat at Bury leaving Ronnie Moore’s side eight points from safety with less than a third of the season to play.
Wimbledon visit The Vic on Saturday before Pools make the long trip to Dagenham & Redbridge next Tuesday – two games which captain Flinders believes will decide their fate.
Flinders was handed the armband earlier in the season and he admits he feels added responsibility since taking over the role.
And the 28-year-old stressed the importance of the upcoming matches to his teammates in the dressing room in the immediate aftermath of the Bury defeat.
Asked whether the next two matches are make or break, Flinders told SportMail: “It is, yeah.
“For me personally, I’m not sure about the other lads but I think the next two games are massive.
“You never know with the [other] results, and the teams down there, but the next two are massive and I said that in the dressing room after Bury. Wimbledon and then Dagenham away, we have to pick up maximum points from there.
“I am captain now and you always feel more responsibility.
“It is always more difficult when it is one end of the age scale to the other, you get people like Marlon Harewood and Tommy Miller and then people like [18-year-old] Connor Smith coming in, with hardly any appearances.
“There is little in the middle - those people that have played a lot of games at a young age - which is what we have missed this season.
“We have got to deal with what we have got and will continue to give 100 per cent in the next game.”
Ahead of the visit of Wimbledon, Flinders has also praised the impact Moore has had since arriving at the club, despite Pools still languishing in the bottom two.
It comes after Moore reiterated his passion for the job at Pools in the aftermath of the defeat at Gigg Lane. Moore tweeted: “I’ve no intention of leaving Hartlepool, I love every minute of my job, it’s a big job.
“We have improved the players.
“We are a goalscorer short at the moment but we are giving it our all to stay up.
“We need a bit of luck - the supporters are brilliant.”
Flinders added: “The gaffer is brilliant and he has been round the block.
“He said to us [after Bury] we have to take a lot of positives from the game but at the end of the day we have to start picking up some points.
“The other results had gone for us again and to look at that is disappointing.
“One point or three could have helped claw it back.
“All we can do is move onto the next one.”