HARTLEPOOL United’s weary players need to take advantage of a rare weekend off, according to forward James Poole.
The 23-year-old said the Pools players would have loved nothing more than to be playing in the third round of the FA Cup this weekend, but a defeat to Coventry City in last month’s second round replay put an end to that ambition.
Instead, Colin Cooper’s men find themselves with a free Saturday after their Sky Bet League Two match against Southend United was postponed as a result of Phil Brown’s side making it through to the last 64, facing Millwall tomorrow.
Poole said while the Pools camp would much rather be playing, it is at least a chance to rest some tired limbs following the hectic festive period.
Over Christmas and New Year, Pools drew 1-1 with Burton Albion, picked up another point away to Chesterfield, claimed a deserved but last-gasp 2-1 win over Morecambe before the bitterly disappointing 3-0 defeat to Bury on New Year’s Day – all in the space of 12 packed days.
Next up is Rochdale at home next Saturday.
Poole admits the 10-day break between matches will come as a welcome relief to those players nursing bumps and bruises.
“It has been a tough couple of weeks. It is for every footballer and it is the same every year,” said the ex-Manchester City youth product.
“But the players don’t mind it and we get used to it and the recovery times between games are small.
“We all wanted to play this weekend and we all wanted to play in the FA Cup third round.
“So you can’t really say we are happy about having a weekend off, but the opportunity has been given to us and we have got to use that to our advantage.
“It gives the lads, a couple of which are either carrying knocks or bumps and bruises, time to recover.
“Then we have a big week ahead to build for a big team like Rochdale.”
Pools will be looking to reverse the 3-0 hammering they received on the opening day of the League Two season at Spotland, when the two sides meet a week tomorrow.
The league visit to Southend has been rearranged for Tuesday, February 18.