What Hartlepool United must do to beat Rochdale according to Graeme Lee

It may have ended in defeat on Good Friday but Graeme Lee is looking for a similar performance from his Hartlepool United players against Rochdale this afternoon.

By Joe Ramage
Monday, 18th April 2022, 6:00 am
Graeme Lee saw plenty of positives from his Hartlepool United side against Port Vale. (Credit: Mark Fletcher | MI News)
Graeme Lee saw plenty of positives from his Hartlepool United side against Port Vale. (Credit: Mark Fletcher | MI News)

Pools gave a good account of themselves despite falling narrowly short three days ago against a Port Vale side who are edging ever closer to automatic promotion.

Lee admitted after the game he was pleased with the first half in particular from his players before Connor Hall’s second half header changed the dynamic of the game as the visitors came away with all three points.

But Lee believes if his side can replicate those levels at the Crown Oil Arena today then they will give themselves a good chance of claiming something from the game.

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Mark Shelton celebrated scoring a late winner against Rochdale at the Suit Direct Stadium in December during Graeme Lee's first home game in charge. Picture by FRANK REID

Mercifully Pools’ run of fixtures against sides competing for promotion comes to an end today as they take on 17th placed Rochdale.

Pools secured a dramatic late win over Robbie Stockdale’s side back in December as an injury time Mark Shelton strike earned all three points for Lee on his first night in the dugout at the Suit Direct Stadium.

Pools’ last six fixtures have been against teams in the top 11 of the table with another to come against Swindon Town at the Suit Direct Stadium this weekend.

But Lee insists nothing should change from his players’ approach to today’s game despite coming up against a side below them in the table.

“It doesn’t change things. I said to the lads after the [Port Vale] game; how we’ve applied ourselves in the last two games against Forest Green and against Port Vale, two top teams in the league, if we go against Rochdale with that application and that mentality we get points if we apply ourselves in the right way,” Lee told The Mail.

“Our mentality and our desire doesn’t change. We have to go out exactly as we’ve been playing and if we do that I’m sure we’ll pick up points.”

The Easter weekend has long since been an important part of any football season with a succession of games over a short period of time.

And although Pools may not have much to play for in terms of the league table, Lee believes the Easter double header still holds relevance to his side.

“It is and it isn’t [a good thing]. As long as there’s fit bodies it is,” said Lee.

“Sometimes whether you’ve won or you’ve lost, getting onto the next game and getting ready to go is good.

“As long as I get that same performance I’m sure we’ll be alright.”

Lee added: “I think with Hartlepool I had promotion on this weekend and I might have had another team where I've had promotion on this weekend.

“They’re two games right at the back end of the season where them six points are vital.

“We want to try and get points, we want to show a bit of fight and a bit of character and that we’re not finished for the season. We want to get as many points as we can.”