Thursday, February 16, 2017

WE bounced back from the extremely disappointing loss away at Newport County with a 1-1 draw on Saturday at home to Yeovil Town. We should have won the game after going ahead in the second half but we didn’t finish Yeovil off and we paid the price when we gave away a very silly penalty which the Yeovil player duly scored.
We controlled the game until Yeovil got the equaliser and then we just seemed to go into retreat mode and we made very hard work to get the point in the end. I scored the opening goal of the game. It was my 11th goal of the season which I am very pleased with.
I have said several times throughout the season in my columns that it has been a very disappointing campaign so far because we have been let down by our inconsistency. We seem to be a bit like Jekyll and Hyde at the moment, not knowing which Hartlepool is going to turn up.
Since the new manager has come in, he is trying to implement his ideas and his tactics and so far, the lads have responded in a good way. But we need to transfer that into wins on the pitch to get us up the table as soon as possible so we don’t get dragged into a relegation battle.
The transfer window closed last Tuesday and it was a busy one for us with a few deals getting over the line, both incoming and outgoing. The transfer deadline day is always a bit of a crazy one and this recent one was no different. We were out training on Tuesday morning when one of our players (Josh Laurent) got pulled out in the middle of the session because a bid from Wigan Athletic had been accepted and he had to dash to Wigan for a medical and to agree personal terms with them.
Josh said his goodbyes to the players there and then on the pitch. He wasn’t the only one that had to say his goodbyes to his team-mates in an unusual way. One of our signings, Louis Rooney (on loan from Plymouth Argyle) was on the bench for Plymouth away to Yeovil Town on Tuesday night and after the game finished he was told that a loan deal had been agreed and he went into the Yeovil offices to finalise the deal with 17 seconds to spare before the transfer window closed. It just shows how quickly things can change in football, especially on the final day of the window.
We made another loan signing, bringing in Andy Nelson on loan from Sunderland and so far, they both look like very decent signings. Both players started Saturday’s game and they were excellent so hopefully they can continue their form this weekend if selected.
Training has been very competitive right across the squad. We have players coming back from injury too, most notably Nathan Thomas who will be like a new singing for us. Before he got injured earlier in the season he was a certainty to move to bigger and better things in the January transfer window, most likely to a Championship club. Unfortunately for him, his injury scuppered that but from a selfish point of view it is great for us that we will have him for the rest of the season.
I think this will be his last couple of months in a Hartlepool shirt though because we will have no hope of keeping him if he returns to the level of his performances during the early part of the season.
We are away to Mansfield Town this weekend and Mansfield are going to be a very tough proposition for us. Since Steve Evans has taken over, they have made some very good signings and are unbeaten in their last eight games home and away. We will need to make sure the right Hartlepool turns up this weekend or else it will be nine games unbeaten for Mansfield.
Earlier in the season, we played out a very forgetful 0-0 draw in Hartlepool so both sets of fans will be hoping for a better game but if it is a poor game and we can nick it 1-0 win, I’m sure our supporters will head home very happy.

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