IF Hartlepool United are serious about getting into the Sky Bet League Two play-offs then they need to start stringing together a series of wins.
That is the view of manager Colin Cooper who says tomorrow’s trip to fourth-bottom Wycombe is another “opportunity” for his young side to edge further towards the top seven.
Pools are ninth, two places and five points off Southend in the last play-off position, with several teams vying for the chance to extend their season.
“All you hope for at the end of the season is that you have something to play for,” said Cooper.
“If you get in the top end of the table, that is what you want to be playing for and in my opinion we need to keep stringing results together.
“We can’t afford too many Northamptons so if we don’t win we have to try and avoid defeat.
“That is the only way we can make that point tally up.
“We have to win at least two more games than Southend over the rest of the season and then see what happens.
“That is all you can do, your own job, and see where it takes you.
“If it brings you somewhere where you can challenge then that brings an exciting end.
“If it doesn’t then it shows that you have fallen a little bit short but we will be giving it every go.”
In Pools’ last away trip they were easily beaten 2-0 by Northampton, but they bounced back with a fine 3-0 home win over Torquay.
“The game provides us with another opportunity”, said Cooper.
“Wycombe are another team who had a really bright early season and, to be fair, when they played up here they beat us.
“It was that period of games we were playing reasonably well in but not getting anything out of them.
“They have levelled off since and are now fighting for their lives.
“I’d like to think that Gareth (Ainsworth) and his staff will have looked at us over the last couple of weeks, as we are looking at them, taken note of the Northampton game that we lost and note of how we managed to beat Torquay last week.
“If we can get our job done then see what happens around us.
“But in order to bridge that gap we have to win games.Plymouth have done that by winning and that is what you have to do to get in the mix.
“If we can go to Wycombe and get a really positive result that would be great.
“You have to get something from your away games.”
Cooper added: “We have to go down there and be very hard to beat.
“They are in a position where they want to get points on the board so they are not looking over their shoulder and we want to go down there and get a positive result so that other people above us are looking over their shoulder.”
The Chairboys are only two places above the drop zone, but have lost just once in their last six in the league.
HARTLEPOOL (probable): Flinders, Richards, Holden, Burgess, Collins, Walton, Walker, Monkhouse, Barmby, James, Harewood. Subs: Rafferty, Sweeney, Poole, Hawkins, Franks, Rodney, Compton.
WYCOMBE (probable): Ingram, McCoy, Scowen, Stewart, Johnson, Wood, Craig , Kretzschmar, Arnold, McClure, Bloomfield. Subs (From): Horlock, Morgan, Cowan-Hall, Jeffrey, Kuffour, Pierre, Kewley-Graham, Styche.