Hartlepool United aim to pick themselves up for Brentford clash

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HARTLEPOOL United vice-captain Neil Austin admits it’s time for some soul searching this weekend as the players embark on a rare mid-season break.

Mick Wadsworth has afforded his men a few days away from Maiden Castle with their early exit from the FA Cup meaning there is no fixture tomorrow afternoon.

But Pools go into the rest period on the back of seven consecutive home defeats, the latest reverse coming on Tuesday night as Preston North End emerged from their own 13-game winless slump with a 1-0 victory.

Austin has revealed that the Victoria Park dressing room cut a pretty disconsolate place in the wake of that game, but he believes the free weekend is a chance to draw a line under recent struggles before returning to begin preparations for next Saturday’s trip to Brentford.

“There were a lot of heads to the floor in the changing room on Tuesday,” admitted the Pools ever-present, who has skippered the side in recent weeks with Sam Collins sidelined.

“We can’t be too downhearted, we’ve just got to pick ourselves back up and get on with it.”

Tuesday’s defeat did, however, bring about a better performance in comparison to the home toil of late.

Austin insists Pools must take positives from that showing.

“I thought we played pretty well to be fair, the best we have played at home for a while,” he went on.

“We passed it around and created a lot of good chances, but you’ve got to take them – if you don’t score you aren’t going to win.”

The dependable away form is the reason Pools still occupy a mid-table station in League One, and Austin reflected: “At home we just aren’t keeping clean sheets or scoring.”