Former Nottingham Forest, Rochdale and Gateshead defender believes it's time for Hartlepool United to replicate their cup form in League Two

Neill Byrne believes it’s time for Hartlepool United to go on a run of games to allay any concerns about their recent form.

By Joe Ramage
Thursday, 20th January 2022, 4:45 pm

Following their goalless draw with Carlisle United in midweek, Pools have now won just once in 11 League Two games stretching back to Dave Challinor’s final game in charge as manager, a crushing 5-0 defeat at Leyton Orient.

But despite an alarming run of form in the league, Pools remain a different proposition when it comes to cup football with Graeme Lee’s side still competing in both the Papa John’s Trophy and the FA Cup.

Pools welcome Charlton Athletic in the quarter finals of the EFL Trophy next week before making the trip to Selhurst Park in February to take on Crystal Palace in the fourth round of the FA Cup.

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Neill Byrne is enjoying his time with Hartlepool United. (Credit: Mark Fletcher)

But it is the bread and butter of league football where Pools have stuttered of late with Tuesday’s stalemate at Brunton Park exhibiting some of the issues that have been troubling Lee’s side of late.

And Irish defender Byrne believes it’s time for Pools to stand up and be counted in the league ahead of the visit of Stevenage to the Suit Direct Stadium this weekend.

“As hard as it seems, the league is the most important thing for us. We need to get on a run of games where we win back-to-back,” said Byrne.

“It feels like it’s been a bit stop-start where we’ve won a couple then we’ve lost. We need to go on a good run of not losing games to push up that table.

“I feel like as a team, we feel like there’s not many teams on our day who are better than us and we want to make sure that come the end of the season we do ourselves justice and we finish as high up that table as we can.”

Bryne is enjoying a bright spell of his career at the Suit Direct Stadium having established himself as a regular first team starter for Pools.

The 28-year-old has featured 33 times this season and has been a regular under Lee since his arrival at the beginning of December.

While Byrne has had spells in the Football League previously, the Pools defender is enjoying his life back in the North East this season.

“I’ve enjoyed myself a lot. I’ve been up here before in the North East and, no disrespect to Gateshead, but I feel like Hartlepool, the fans, the club, it’s a proper well run club.

“I’ve come into a group of players who are coming off last year doing so well and I integrated into them as easily as I could.

“I think we’ve done okay in the league. We’d rather be a bit higher and we’ve probably missed out on points. We feel that we should have won games that we’ve maybe drawn or lost games we should have drawn but then you look at the cups and we’ve done really well in them.

“It just shows the cup games we can beat anyone. On our day we’re a good team. We just want to progress and do well in the league and have our aspirations to do well in the cups.”

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