All together now: Pools defender Liam Donnelly hails team spirit in fight for safety

Pools' Liam Donnelly (right) takes on Exeter in last Saturday's vital 3-1 win. Picture by Frank Reid
Pools' Liam Donnelly (right) takes on Exeter in last Saturday's vital 3-1 win. Picture by Frank Reid
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Liam Donnelly says the tight-knit team spirit at Hartlepool United will help Pools climb away from trouble.

Pools have shown their ability to dig deep over the last week – shaking off a poor first-half display to blitz Crewe 4-0 and then put on a powerful final half-hour to shock Exeter City 3-1 on Saturday.

“The lads are together,” said the defender, who says the responsibility will bring out the best in the players.

“We know what we have to do to get out of this.

“The staff can do all they can in the build-up to the game, to try to get us to play a certain way, but when it comes down to going on the pitch it’s down to us.”

The success of the last two fixtures has been built on a solid defence – a clean sheet against Crewe and just one goal conceded against the best away side in the division.

Donnelly says it was vital Pools tidied up at the back to give the advanced players a stage to shine.

“Our defensive mistakes have cost us,” he said. “We needed to cut them out because we pose a threat going forward.”

Donnelly singled out Scott Harrison as a tower of strength at the back.

“Scotty has been great,” said the Irishman. “He’s had a bit of criticism in the past but everyone believes in him, especially those playing with him.

“He’s been a leader in the team.”

Donnelly looks set to start on the left of the back four at Notts County this Saturday.

The Northern Ireland Under-20 defender started at right-back at the weekend before showing his versatility by switching to the left after the injury to Sean Kavanagh.

There are no complaints from Kavanagh about being moved about – it’s all part of the service and team spirit.

“it’s not my preferred position but I don’t mind as long as I’m playing,” he added. “I’m happy to play wherever the gaffer wants to use me.”

* Hartlepool United Reserves maintained their pursuit of the Central League title when supersub Connor Simpson fired them to a 2-1 win at York City yesterday .

Simpson left the bench to score the winner at Bootham Crescent after Jake Orrell, who was in the first-team squad in Saturday’s League Two victory over Crewe, had netted early in the second half.

With leaders Grimsby Town winning at Chesterfield it was vital Pools took a maximum haul against the Minsterman to stay level on points with the Mariners.

Not only did Pools come away with the spoiils they also took the opportunity to run the rule over two trialists.

Kiwi keeper Nik Tzanev, 20, was the last line of defence, while 22-year-old ex-Notts County product Malachi Lavelle-Moore played on the wing.