Josh Hawkes looks ahead to a crucial period for Hartlepool United in both the National League and FA Cup
Despite recent set-backs, Hartlepool United have the opportunity to really dictate their season over the next month and midfielder Josh Hawkes is determined to make it count.
Pools currently sit six points off the play-off places with at least 23 games remaining and seven of those coming over the next month.
After welcoming an out of form Dagenham & Redbridge to Victoria Park on Saturday, Hartlepool will be looking to seek revenge for their FA Trophy collapse when they return to sixth placed Harrogate Town on Boxing Day before hosting the reverse fixture on New Year’s Day.
The next month also sees them face league leaders Barrow, second placed Yeovil Town as well as a long trip down to Dover Athletic. Not to mention the small matter of an FA Cup third round match at Oxford United.
“The next month is really important for us,” said Hawkes.
“It gives us the chance to really start pushing up the league a bit and the next few matches are massive for us if we want to get in and around the play-offs.
“We’ve got to make it count especially with our game in hand. But I don’t see why we can’t push up the table and the FA Cup is a massive chance with the next round against Oxford where we can still progress further.”
Hawkes has started each of the last five matches, his longest run in the starting XI since March. During that time he’s managed to contribute a goal and three assists for the side.
Hartlepool suffered a shocking 3-2 defeat at Harrogate in the FA Trophy over the weekend with Hawkes being one of only a few players to come away from the game in a positive light.
The 20-year-old started the match but was withdrawn at half-time with Pools leading 2-0.
The change was precautionary rather than tactical though Hawkes is expected to be available for the Dagenham match.
And he’s hoping he’ll continue to be given a chance to impress during a potentially season defining period.
He added: “I’ll take every game as it comes and see where I am come January and then moving on to the end of the season.”