Hartlepool stars need freedom to propel club to safety

Matthew Bates
Matthew Bates
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Matthew Bates will unshackle his players for the biggest game in Hartlepool United’s history by sending them out at Cheltenham with the order to attack.

The 30-year-old, who heads the interim management team alongside Billy Paynter, Stuart Parnaby and Ian Gallagher, knows Pools must win at Whaddon Road if they are to have a chance of avoiding relegation to the National League.

Pools are two points behind Newport County and four behind the Robins.

Any one of the three clubs could join Leyton Orient in falling through the League Two trapdoor and the permutations are endless.

However, there is one certainty – Pools need to win and potentially, score more than one goal for the first time in 10 matches.

“We do need to win, that’s what we’ll be setting up for,” said Bates, who says the responsibility rests with the whole team, not just the front men.

“It’s not just the flair players, it’s everyone.

“We need to score goals, and we’ve touched on that this week, and we need to try to get as many bodies forward as we possibly can. You can only win by scoring.”

Two of the sides most gifted footballers, Nathan Thomas and Lewis Alessandra, both on nine goals, have looked pale shadows of their previous selves in recent weeks under previous boss Dave Jones.

“What’s gone is gone, we are now looking forward, we are a mini league and need to win two games,” Bates said. “They are two of our attacking threats and we’ll need them tomorrow.

“I’ll try to give them as much freedom to play as possible. That’s what they need and what they will be looking for. They will be important men.”