Play-offs still possible for Hartlepool United

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HARTLEPOOL United boss Colin Cooper won’t ban talk of reaching the play-offs after the 3-0 victory over Newport County.

And he just wants his side to maintain their winning form as they look to maintain their climb up the League Two table.

Goals from Luke James, on-loan Luke Williams and an own goal sealed the three points for Pools, who have risen to eighth place, six points away from the top seven.

They took the lead four minutes before half-time thanks to James’ 13th of the season after a sublime turn and finish just inside the penalty area.

The second came from a Simon Walton corner, with the ball ricocheting between three Newport players before eventually going in, while on-loan Middlesbrough forward Williams wrapped up the win with a smart low drive in the 93rd minute.

It meant back-to-back wins and a third consecutive clean sheet, form which Cooper says they must maintain if they are to have any chance of reaching the play-offs.

Cooper said: “The players can talk about what they want.

“All they are doing now is what we did in October – putting ourselves amongst the pack. The top seven are a little bit away from everybody because they have been more consistent than the rest of us.

“In order for us to maintain any kind of impetus towards that, we can’t allow what is happening now to drop off.

“We are in with a chance of getting into the mix again.

“We go to Southend United tomorrow and if we get a positive result great.”

Hartlepool: Flinders, Richards, Collins, Burgess, Holden, Walton, Monkhouse, Walker, Williams, Harewood (Barmby 72), James (Franks 87). Subs not used: Poole, Rafferty, Compton, Sweeney, Duckworth. Booked: Holden, Harewood, Walker. Goals: James 41, Sandell 55 og, Williams 90.

Newport County: Parish, Pipe (Zebroski 73), Chapman, Minshull (Porter 62), Willmott, Sandell, Jeffers (Jolley 72), Burge, Naylor, Worley, Howe. Subs not used: Hughes, Crow, Jackson, Thompson. Booked: Worley, Naylor.

Att: 3,470. Ref: Trevor Kettle (Rutland).