Breather can help Hartlepool United’s bid for survival – Hughes

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JOHN Hughes believes Hartlepool United can turn the postponement against Oldham Athletic into a positive in their bid for survival.

The Scot feels some of his players have shown signs of mental fatigue in recent matches, Pools having been held to successive goalless draws at Victoria Park.

Last night’s game at Boundary Park fell victim to the Pennines frost yesterday morning and it looks likely that next Tuesday could be the date for the rearranged fixture.

That would set Pools up for a hectic schedule heading into Easter with five matches in 16 days.

However, Hughes is hoping a few days on the training pitches at Maiden Castle could benefit his men.

“It’s disappointing that last night’s game was off, we wanted to play,” he said, “But you have to take a positive from every situation.

“I just feel we will need a mental freshness going into this next round of games.

“We’ve had a busy run of games and we’ve done well, but maybe one or two of them have just run flat the last couple of matches.

“This is a chance to get them in, regroup and go again.

“It’s a chance for me as well to do some work with them on the training pitch.

“All we’ve been doing the last few weeks is playing and recovering.

“So yes, I would rather the game had been on, but we will definitely use it to our advantage it being off.”

Hughes will be at Billingham Town’s Bedford Terrace this evening when Pools’ reserves take on Bradford City (kick-off 7pm).

Antony Sweeney will continue his bid for match sharpness with a run out, as will teenage striker Luke James.

Hughes went on: “This is a good chance for Sweens to go out and fill his lungs.

“We don’t really want him tackling or getting stuck in too much.

“Just go out there and enjoy a real good workout.

“Luke will be involved as well and one or two others on the fringes so we’ll be making the most of the free week.”