Notts County v Hartlepool Utd: Boss Jones wants Pools to take home form into away crunch

Pools' Rhys Oates runs at the Exeter defence in last week's 3-1 home win. Picture by Frank Reid
Pools' Rhys Oates runs at the Exeter defence in last week's 3-1 home win. Picture by Frank Reid
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Dave Jones is looking to see Hartlepool United carry on at Notts County from where they left off at the Northern Gas & Power Stadium.

Pools visit Meadow Lane tomorrow for a critical League Two clash with a side just one point and one position below them in the table (kick-off 3pm). A win could, potentially, lift Dave Jones’s side a spot or two, while extending that small gap over County.

The way Pools set about promotion contenders Exeter in the final half-hour last Saturday was a joy to witness and Jones wants the players to roll forward with the belief that display and result has brought.

“It was great for our confidence, you couldn’t have asked for any more,” he said. “The only down side was not keeping a clean sheet, the rest of it went really well. You can feel something is growing.

“We are in a bit of a transition period, probably a bit like Notts County, a lot of changes going on.

“We had seen some good performances without getting anything, we knew we were getting better we just needed to turn that into results.

“Watching Saturday back, we dominated a lot of the ball without hurting them, but once the equaliser went in, the confidence seemed to flow through the veins.

“The players started to believe in it and the stuff which might have been breaking down earlier in the match started to come off in the second half.

“It was a fantastic result, the performance in the second half was much better than the first, but it’s all about results,

“I was so pleased they got their rewards for the hard work.”

Jones has a wee bit of a dilemma tomorrow at Meadow Lane over Rhys Oates.

The 22-year-old has been used predominately in wider positions but last Saturday excelled through the middle against the Grecians for the last 30 minutes after Jones tweaked his forward line and midfield.

Oates performed with such impact, he was chosen as the Pools HD Player man of the match.

“Rhys’s best position is centre-forward, we know that,” said Jones. “But because of circumstances we need to utilise players in other positions.

“He’s a young lad, he tires after 70-odd minutes, so you have to be careful with that.

“But he performed superbly.”

It will be interesting to see if Jones is tempted to strike while the iron is hot, so to speak, and let Oates loose centrally.

Another dilemma will be where to start in-form Lewis Alessandra.

The rejuvenated 28-year-old has scored four times in the last two matches, his double against Crewe coming from the middle with his brace against Exeter emanating from the left.

“The likes of Lewi is coming into is own,” added Jones.

Pools come up against a County side who have come into a bit of form themselves under new boss Kevin Nolan.

The former Newcastle and West Ham midfielder has overseen an upturn in form at Meadow Lane.

Nolan, appointed as Magpies boss in January, led his team on a five-match unbeaten run in February which included away victories over relegation rivals Leyton Orient and promotion hopefuls Plymouth.

Tomorrow could be pivotal to the season, but Jones added: “Tell me a game that isn’t important, but it is a match against a side in and around us in the table.

“It should be a good game.”