Hartlepool United are 'back to reality' after Crystal Palace defeat as they prepare for League Two clash with Barrow

After the emotions of their FA Cup journey, Hartlepool United’s League Two reality is quickly upon Graeme Lee’s side once more.

By Joe Ramage
Tuesday, 8th February 2022, 12:30 pm

Pools host Barrow at the Suit Direct Stadium tonight with the pride of Saturday’s showing at Selhurst Park still at the forefront of those in blue and white.

Lee’s side were spirited in their defeat by Crystal Palace and will harbour many memories of a joyous weekend in the capital.

But for Lee and his side those emotions must be reined in as they return to league duty.

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Hartlepool United host Barrow at the Suit Direct Stadium as Graeme Lee's side return to League Two action. (Credit: Mark Fletcher | MI News)

Pools sit 17th in League Two, one point and two places above tonight's opponents as they look to end a seven game winless run dating back to Lee’s first game in charge at the Suit Direct Stadium.

Pools are nine points above the relegation zone in League Two but know they need to find an upturn in form before they are potentially dragged into a scrap at the foot of the table.

And, like the majority of their cup heroics this season, Saturday’s display against Premier League Palace will once again afford hope that a shift in form is imminent in the league after they earned applause from both sets of supporters at Selhurst Park.

But on too many occasions this season Pools have been unable to reach the levels of performance of their cup showings which has seen them slide out of play-off contention and into the bottom half of the table.

Lee’s focus has always been on the league, with the Pools boss admitting his focus was on tonight’s game prior to the Crystal Palace tie.

“It’s been amazing. We’re all enjoying the cup runs. Do I enjoy them as much as I should? Probably not because I’m focused on the league,” said Lee.

“It comes back to reality very quickly. We finished our match preparation with the lads on Friday and I got back on the bus and said ‘right, Barrow’. We start again.

“We’d done the work for Palace but let’s concentrate on the main thing which is the league so we’ll get focused on what we need to do.

“I think the second half performance is where we need to be at, and if we do that we’re going to cause teams problems.”

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