Craig Hignett has delivered his instructions to his Hartlepool United team ahead of tomorrow’s Victoria Park finale: Send the fans home happy.
Pools have a daunting last home date with play-off contenders Portsmouth coming to the Vic (kick-off 3pm).
Portsmouth got done by three goals at York so there’s no reason why we can’t do itCRAIG HIGNETT
But Hignett wants a victory to put a spring in the step of the home support going into the close-season AND to avoid a third straight defeat.
“Our home form since February has been really good,” said Hignett, who welcomes back Billy Paynter. “We’ve lost just once since Notts County and that was Accrington.
“We’ve had good results at the Vic and I will be asking for the same type of performance and commitment we have been and hopefully get the win.
“Portsmouth are a huge club and there is a lot of expectation there and pressure on [boss] Paul Cook to get them up.
“Paul has done well there and they are in with a real shout.
“But anyone can beat anyone in this division, I really believe that.
“Portsmouth got done by three goals at York so there’s no reason why we can’t do it.
“I will be going into the game expecting to win it and hope the players are the same.
“Reputations count for nothing, it’s how you play on the day that counts.
“We want to finish the season properly – we’ve had a brilliant run but I’d love to win the last game.
“I’m hoping it will be a good day and the weather’s all right because it’s been a nightmare this week.
“I hope the fans will have something good to watch to go home and be happy about going into the summer.”
Pools have never lost more than two in a row under the ex-Middlesbrough star and does not want that on his record now.
The defeats have hardly been end-of-the-world jobs – 2-1 at home to Accrington and 2-0 at Oxford.
Both losses were against clubs favourites to join Northampton Town in as the division’s three automatic promoted teams.
Tomorrow is another big test – Pompey are sixth in the table but with the second best defensive record in the division.
Their form has been a little erratic, with six wins in their last 10 fixtures, Pools having had five in the same period.
“All the games at the end of the season have meant something and that’s good for me,” said Hignett.
“I didn’t want the season to peter out.
“We’ve lost the last two now and we need to get back on track.”