Hartlepool United boss urges his men to thrive in Portsmouth atmosphere

Ronnie Moore
Ronnie Moore
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RONNIE Moore says his Hartlepool United players must not be overawed by the intimidating atmosphere at Fratton Park on Saturday.

Pools travel to Portsmouth looking to put a further dent in the seven-point gap to League Two safety.

But they will have to first overcome the noisy atmosphere produced by the Pompey faithful, with upwards of 15,000 attending their home games – despite yet another dismal season for the south coast side.

The Pools players are more used to playing in front of crowds of 4,000 and Moore admits big crowds can “frighten” some players.

He wants his team to build on last week’s 3-2 win over Plymouth against Andy Awford’s under-pressure side, who are just two points above the drop zone.

“I hope we are not overawed by the atmosphere at Portsmouth,” Moore said.

“If you can’t enjoy playing in front of 15,000 people then there is something wrong.

“I have been there with Tranmere and there was a similar number there then and they frightened the life out of our lads.

“We ended up getting beat 3-0 so it can have an affect.

“But the confidence is quite high at this moment in time and I am looking forward to it.

“Mind, I haven’t won many games down there so it would be nice to put that right!”

Pompey drew 0-0 away at Wycombe last Saturday, a result which gave boss Awford some breathing space, but he is under increasing pressure with his side 18th in League Two.

Moore insists it will be another difficult afternoon for his side though, buoyed by two wins out of four and improved performances.

Moore, a manager of the month nominee for January, said: “It is a long way to go down to Portsmouth.

“There aren’t any easy games and nothing really between the top and bottom teams.

“We played well at Shrewsbury but lost in in the second half, did well at Wycombe but got beat narrowly.

“We are capable of going anywhere and winning.

“It is just getting the right formation.”

Meanwhile, one player Pools won’t be facing is on-loan Portsmouth striker Paul McCallum after he was this week banned for seven matches after his furious reaction to being sent off against Southend.

The West Ham youngster was dismissed for violent conduct amid a 2-1 defeat at the end of last month.

But the 21-year-old then appeared to raise a hand to referee Lee Collins and had to be dragged away by team-mates.

He’d already been given a three-match ban for the red card, with a further four matches for the reaction.