Hartlepool new boy eyes great escape

David Mirfin
David Mirfin
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DAVID Mirfin insists Hartlepool United can avoid relegation from League Two this season if they mix the ingredients they possess into a winning recipe.

Mirfin joined Pools from Scunthorpe United on a month’s loan on a dramatic deadline day and seven days with the squad has convinced him that reducing the nine-point deficit is not insurmountable.

Ahead of tonight’s game with Northampton Town at Victoria Park, the League Two promotion-winner of 2013-14 is optimistic of Pools’ chances of survival.

“I’ve said to a few of them that compared to the Scunthorpe team who got promoted last year – and it sounds silly – but there’s not much in it between the sides,” he said.

“All you need is that bit of consistency.

“I think it helps if you have someone up top scoring goals regularly but if you can get lads all over the pitch chipping in then it does take that pressure off.

“I played quite a lot of games in a promotion team and sometimes you have to know what you’ve got to do to grind results out.

“It’s not going to be pretty, especially in this league, but it is all about getting three points.

“It’s only young lads here. I don’t want to sound rude but they’re probably a little bit naive as to how much is at stake so they can still enjoy their football and just get a little bit of confidence and the results will come.”

Should Pools be demoted to the Conference and end a 94-year association with the Football League, it would coincide with the 10th anniversary of the League One play-off final in Cardiff.

It is a game that Mirfin has read about and cites the form of that season to indicate what is possible.

“I was reading in the Portsmouth programme about when Hartlepool got in the play-offs and lost to Sheffield Wednesday,” he said.

“They won seven on the bounce to be in a play-off position. It may sound silly but it’s completely feasible. You only need to win two or three to get started. It’s almost worse being a team two or three places above the bottom and looking over your shoulder.

“Sometimes having a bit of pressure off you, being bottom you can’t do any worse so it’s up to you to go out there and win games.”

Pools are set to be without Matthew Bates (dead leg) while Tommy Miller (calf) and Stuart Parnaby (knee) remain out.

Zander Diamond misses the trip to the North East with a hamstring injury but former Pools left-back Evan Horwood is set to start for Northampton, 11th in League Two, after missing the 5-1 drubbing earlier in the season at Sixfields Stadium with tendonitis.