HARTLEPOOL United manager Ronnie Moore believes he finally has a squad that can adapt to any situation and insists he isn’t afraid of making BIG decisions.
Moore has tinkered with his team and formation for each of the last three matches – including Tuesday’s 1-0 win over Northampton at Victoria Park which left them six points from safety.
Injuries to Scott Fenwick (ankle) and Matthew Bates (dead leg) forced his hand slightly as Moore opted for a 4-4-2 formation.
But the Pools chief said he was always looking to bring Jonathan Franks and Jack Compton – who produced a man of the match display – back into the side on the wings.
Once Marvin Morgan had given Pools the lead, Moore reverted back to a 3-5-2 formation and he says that added flexibility within the squad is helping get results.
Morgan was partnered up front alongside Marlon Harewood and that partnership could be given another run out on Saturday, with Fenwick struggling with an ankle injury.
“We are building a squad that can change now, if we need to,” Moore said.
“We did that late on when we were under the cosh against Northampton, going three at the back, to match them up.
“Some of our lads don’t know that role yet though, the wingbacks didn’t really push on as much as I’d have liked and allowed them to keep coming at us.
“But they are little things that you work on and that can only be done on the training ground.
“We had no option up top but to play the two lads with [Fenwick’s injury] and sometimes that is the hand you are dealt.
“The partnership was different wasn’t it!
“At times it looked OK and at other times it didn’t look so well.
“You will get that though because we haven’t been able to work on too much with the games we have had, you can’t really batter them on the training ground.
“They were competitive though – no doubt about that.”
Moore admitted it was also a “tough” decision to leave out Dan Jones, the 20-year-old having previously played every game since the 62-year-old was appointed manager.
Moore was keen to start with a flat back four, which meant Jones missing out with Neil Austin keeping his place at left-back but he could yet make a swift return to the starting line-up against Stevenage.
He added: “I made the decision to leave Dan out to go with the wingers because I thought we could get Franksy and Compo on the ball and with the height of the strikers get the balls into the box.
“We did that but a lot of them weren’t so much crosses as playing a little bit of football and getting in behind them on the break.
“It was tough on Dan but I have to make a decision for the group which I think will serve us best for particular games.
“It may be that he is back on Saturday and we may go with a three at the back – it all depends.
“The players are believing in what we are trying to do and it doesn’t matter how well you play, I may still leave you out.
“Franksy had it at Portsmouth and Dan against Northampton.
“If Dan could do the left-back spot as well as we want him to then maybe Ozzy [Austin] could be under pressure.”