Games running out but Hartlepool United’s Hughes remains defiant

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JOHN Hughes is worried that Hartlepool United are running out of games in their quest for survival – but he admits that tonight at Oldham Athletic is the “biggest yet”.

With The Latics – now under the care of Lee Johnson – just one place and four points clear of Pools in the League One relegation zone, the stakes could barely be higher going into the contest.

Defeat for Pools would leave them in a perilous position with just seven matches remaining.

But Hughes insists his players know what is required.

“There’s eight games to go and I have a sneaky feeling of what we have to do (to avoid relegation).

“I have warriors in there who want to give it a right good go.

“If we give it a good go and it doesn’t work out in the end then you have to applaud it.

“The gap remains six points but games are running out and we know that. But who knows? If we can give it a right good go and a little bit of luck shines on us then you never know.

“This is our biggest game yet and we’ll be right up for it, I can guarantee that.”

Pools were beaten 1-0 at Coventry City on Saturday to extend their scoreless run to six hours.

Antony Sweeney returned to the starting line-up following injury and he is set to keep his place this evening.And Hughes does not anticipate any changes.

“Sweeney coming back is vital, he gives us a balance,” he said.

“Our front three (Charlie Wyke, James Poole and Jon Franks) have energy and good legs, and on the bench you have big Stevie Howard, who is a focal point. So we’ll keep going and pick the best team to win a football match.”