HARTLEPOOL United are in a “relegation battle” and Simon Walton admits it’s “quite scary”.
The midfielder pulled absolutely no punches as he labelled matches against Burton (a), Morecambe (h), former club Plymouth (a) and Exeter (h) as “massive”.
Pools have gone from the fringes of the play-offs, to mid-table mediocrity to a fight for survival all in the space of five games.
Walton was one of the few to stand tall in the fifth defeat in a row, a 2-1 set-back to Chesterfield at Victoria Park on Saturday.
“It is not good enough in certain aspects and the sooner we realise that the better,” said the 26-year-old.
“Whether we like it or not we are in a relegation battle unfortunately.”
Pools had taken the lead from a great Luke James finish, only for Liam Cooper to level on the half hour and Eoin Doyle to hit the winner within four minutes of the second half.
“We have four massive games left,” he said.
“To be in this situation is quite scary to be honest.
“We say the right things and we go out there to do the right things but for some reason or another we don’t seem to quite do it.
“At Portsmouth, we gave the same spiel, ‘keep it tight, blah blah,’ but we could have been two down after two minutes.
“On Saturday we conceded from a set-piece, which shouldn’t happen, and then let in a bad goal inside five minutes of the second half.
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“After that we couldn’t get going.
“We said before Saturday we’d may be need one win just to calm everything down.
“We now have to get it as soon a possible.
“we have two big games over the Easter weekend [at Burton and home to Morecambe].
“We have got ourselves into this situation and only us can get us out of it.”
Walton said the players are trying to be positive, as boss Colin Cooper had demanded.
But he was honest in saying that the players must give it their all and feels that is not happening.
“I totally understand what the gaffer is saying that you can’t be negative and you have to go in with belief,” Walton said.
“But, at the same time, people have to start realising that before we do anything we have to put the effort in.
“You run, you tackle, you do the ugly stuff.
“You might not like it but you have to do it, especially the lower reaches of League Two.
“Like it or not, you have to do it.
“At the end of the day, if you don’t do it, you’ll be found wanting.”