Hartlepool United turn focus on big FA Cup trip to South Shields
Hartlepool United boss Craig Harrison will give his squad a couple of days to catch their breath and rest aching limbs ahead of the entry into the FA Cup.
Pools travel to South Shields this Saturday for a difficult fourth qualifying round tie at North East football’s big success story.
Harrison is trying to write his own tale a Victoria Park and he has taken Pools to just a point off the play-offs in the National League at the end of the first third of the programme.
It is hard to comprehend the fact that we are barely into October and 15 of the 46 regulation league fixtures are over.
Those 15 matches have been crammed into nine weeks and they are starting to take a toll, with Harrison saying a minimum of two days of rest is as important as time on the training field.
“Not having a midweek game this week gives us a chance for some rest and recovery,” said the boss.
“The games have been coming thick and fast in the league, a few are carrying injuries and niggles so the lads have a 48 -hour shut down.”
Both full-backs fall into that category, with Nicky Deverdics (toe) and Carl Magnay (stomach strain) playing in some discomfort in the 2-1 weekend league victory at Solihuill Moors but insistent on playing.
“Mags was probably only at 75% fitness, he was struggling massively,” Harrison said. “But he was determined to play and make his contribution to the cause.
“As a senior player and captain it’s vital he’s out there and he’s defended fantastically.
“Dev’s struggling too with a toe injury but he wants to play, he wants to keep that run going and make his contribution to the team.”
Harrison was full of praise for those on the pitch and those behind the advertising boards on Saturday at Damson Park where Pools made it seven points out of nine to move up to 13th in the table.
“Everyone has been brilliant again,” he added. “There has been no stand-out [performer].
“It’s been a typical team week, going away to Woking and getting a good point, then not being great against Barrow but scoring in the last minute of added time to win.
“We weren’t great in the first half at Solihull but we got better and scored a 90th-minute winner.
“It’s been a fabulous week.”
Pools were supported by 339 fans in a record Damson Park crowd of 2,658 and Harrison paid tribute to the blue and white army.
“They were absolutely fantastic again,” he said. “They were at Woking in their numbers, 3,000 were there on Tuesday night at the Vic and they turn up again at Solihull.
“We are proud to represent them and the club.”