Dave Jones says Hartlepool United’s fans can play a huge part in keeping the club in League Two.
Pools entertain Carlisle United at the Northern Gas & Power Stadium tomorrow (kick-off 3pm).
The Cumbrians are expected to be backed by a near 1,000 strong army in the Rink End and Jones says that the home support in the other three sections of the ground will be crucial.
Three of Pools’ last five matches are on their own patch and, given the dreadful away form, are going to be vital in deciding the outcome of the relegation issue.
“Home advantage is always important,” said Jones.
“Everyone likes playing at home, and most clubs are stronger at home than away.
“The crowd will play a big part and everyone has to be up for it.
“Carlisle are fighting at the other end, so it’s not going to be easy.
“The more noise the fans make, the more they encourage, it all gives the players a lift.”
Jones says Pools will look to take advantage of Carlisle’s fragile state tomorrow.
Pools are in relegation trouble in League Two, lying only three points ahead of Newport.
But Keith Curle’s Cumbrians are in a worse run of form than Pools, clinging on to seventh place – the last play-off spot – after a dismal run of only seven points from a possible 30.
Can Pools take advantage of the stumbles of Keith Curle’s side?
“We’ll certainly try,” said Jones.
“It just show they must be a good side that they are still on the fringe of things after the run they’ve had.
“We’ve watched videos of them, they are a strong side, they have good players, a good manager I know.
“I’m expecting nothing but a difficult match and anything we get we are going to have to earn.
“They are going through a bit of a difficult time, but they are up in the top seven for a reason.
“Keith will be coming here to win, but if they are low on confidence then we’ll try to use that to our advantage.”
Jones says he has no fresh injury worries in his squad.
“Knocks, bruises, stiffness, that’s all,” said the Pools boss.
Jones has few selection options with Carl Magnay, Nicky Deverdics and Lewis Hawkins the only candidates to come into the starting XI.
But the Pools manager recalled Kenton Richardson last week at Morecambe, where the teenager performed well, while the midfield unit are also contributing strongly.
An unchanged XI looks like being the order of the day.
Curle has a quandary over Jabo Ibehre tomorrow.
Carlisle’s form took a nosedive following the sale of ex-Pools loan man Charlie Wyke to Bradford City and has not been helped by the absence of Ibehre, who missed almost a month through injury.
The experienced forward proved his fitness with a goal against Notts County last Saturday, but, with promotion rivals Stevenage visiting Brunton Park on Monday, Curle must decide if the 34-year-old can get through two games inside four days.
Pools (probable): Fryer, Richardson, Harrison, Walker, Donnelly, Featherstone, Woods, Alessandra, Thomas, Amond, Oates
Subs: Dudzinski, Magnay, Bates, Hawkins, Deverdics, Rooney, Rodney
Carlisle (probable) Gillespie, Miller, Raynes, Brisley, Grainger, Liddle, Bailey, Devitt, Lambe, O’Sullivan, Proctor
Subs: Joyce, Kennedy, Ibehre, Crocombe, Waring, Joachim, Nabi