by Ronnie Mewes

With the final stretch of games coming thick and fast Hartlepool United seem to have turned a rather sharp corner in gaining results; could this be a Houdini act or a positive end to a negative campaign?

The multiple bookmakers favourite to become a League Two team next season seem to finally be chalking up points, all be that later than they would have liked. Having made a rather precarious start to the season, in which the first ten games saw a points haul of just six from an available thirty, coupled with an early exit from the Capital One Cup, fans and players alike must have feared the worst for their club, who in previous seasons had flirted with relegation rather than fearing it. This points haul or rather the lack of it, was only worsening and a collection of half the previous tally only increased pressures on the club and relegation seemed inevitable. However, a glimmer of hope has recently come about due to a resurgence from the team appearing not to be drifting without a fight.

In recent weeks Hartlepool have seemed like a truly new outfit – on current form they would be challenging for the title rather than trying to stay afloat – and staff and fans alike must be curious to know why all of a sudden is the club is able to produce something they have not seen all season. Eleven of the seasons acquired twenty four points have come in the last five games and have seen
the club go on an unbeaten streak in the process and with a momentous task still in front of them fans who were almost certainly planning for life in a new division have some hope to cling on too. Ten points would be needed over Oldham Athletic to simply overhaul them into twentieth position; however, circumstances would require Bury and Colchester to both drop a similar amount of points which puts relegation in the hands of others.

Speaking to rising young star Jack Baldwin, on the club’s season and asking him whether they can survive this year he replies with a rallying cry from his team mates, “We’re not rolling over that easily! Hopefully another three points today!” A typically yet needed response from a player many have praised for a calmness on the ball from a player only two seasons out of non league football.
Where better to continue on the road to safety than against fellow strugglers Scunthorpe United, a team who Hartlepool in fact, defeated earlier in the season to gain their first three points, which could provide a valuable psychological edge that Pools boss John Hughes may use to his teams advantage. Scunthorpe however, are unlikely to roll over and allow Hartlepools resurgence to continue without a fight and have recently found form not to dissimilar to their opponents, gaining a creditable ten points in five games which sets this afternoons mouth watering six pointer up for an exiting watch.

The resignation of previous boss, Neale Cooper, paved the way for John Hughes’ managerial tenure to start, new managers will always need some time to find their feet at a club as new mentalities and
methods do not happen overnight. Jack Baldwin sheds some light on what Hughes has brought to the club “He’s (Hughes) come into the club with a total football mentality. Coaching methods and training sessions he’s putting on are so beneficial for me as a young player in the game. Have learned a lot from him already. He is also a big believer of having a positive mind set, and says “your mind is your strongest tool in your box.” And I think that’s the one of the biggest changes, getting the team together and helping us believe it’s possible. Every game is a cup final.” This mentality seems to be paying of the the team and they must be hoping for a miraculous but currently still possible chance of staying in the division.