Wimbledon will be tough to beat, admits Hartlepool United chief

Ronnie Moore
Ronnie Moore
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RONNIE Moore knows his Hartlepool United side will have to be at their best if they are to get back to winning ways on home soil.

Pools had won three on the spin at Victoria Park since the turn of the year but a Valentines Day 3-1 defeat to Stevenage left Moore fuming.

I went to Cambridge to watch Wimbledon the other night and it was as good a game as I’ve seen for a 0-0

Ronnie Moore

They followed that up with a 1-0 defeat at Bury, a tight game but the hosts came out on top to leave Pools eight points from safety with 14 games left.

Next up is Neal Ardley’s Wimbledon tomorrow, who are 10th in League Two after a goalless draw at Cambridge United, a game Moore attended.

And he was impressed with their style of play, insisting they are not all about lumping the ball forward to burly frontman Adebayo Akinfenwa.

“I went to Cambridge to watch Wimbledon the other night and it was as good a game as I’ve seen for a 0-0,” reflected Moore.

“It surprised me, I felt Wimbledon would boss teams because they have Akinfenwa up there, instead they played some right football.

“(Alfie) Potter out wide is as good a footballer I have seen at this level for a while and he put some quality balls in the box.

“It will be a competitive game against a good side and we have to be at our best.”

Moore would settle for a poor performance though, as long as his side pick up a much-needed, morale boosting win.

He added: “I can’t wait to come off and say how crap we were after winning 1-0 – I’m fed up of coming off after playing well and not winning.

“We are due to come off playing badly and winning.

“The next three games are massive – two at home, one away – and we are looking at seven points.

“Wimbledon will be tough, but this is a chance to get some momentum.

“Dagenham & Redbridge were struggling at one stage, but have strung some good results together to give them some breathing space.”

Pools will be without Matthew Bates (thigh), Scott Fenwick (ankle) and Stuart Parnaby (knee), while former Sunderland midfielder Tommy Miller is still working hard on the training ground after his return from a calf injury.

Miller didn’t play for the reserves in midweek, with Moore confirming he is building his fitness before returning to action.

Moore added: “He needs to be right in his fitness first before he goes into a game again.”

George Francombe missed out for the Dons in midweek due to a hamstring strain, while 20-year-old Tom Beere will hope to keep his place after making his second league start.

Mark Phillips is back after completing a three-game suspension following a red card at Burton but Jake Goodman misses out.

Hartlepool (likely): Flinders, Duckworth, Harrison, Mirfin, Austin, Franks, Woods, Tshibola, Compton, Morgan, Bird.

Subs (from): Maxted, Richards, Holden, D. Jones, Walker, Featherstone, Smith, Harewood, J Jones.

Dons (likely): Shea, Fuller, Winfield, Azeez, Smith, Potter, Moore, Reeves, Beere, Akinfenwa, Oshilaja.

Subs: Bulman, Rigg, Kennedy, McDonnell, Tanner, Fitzpatrick, Connolly.