Boss Dave Jones is relishing Hartlepool United’s crack at League Two high-fliers Portsmouth and sees Lewis Alessandra as a key man to their hopes.
The in-form attacker is one of the players to shine since the arrival of the Jones regime, scoring five times in the last six games, the majority being absolute gems.
Alessandra will be one of the chief supports to leading marksman Padraig Amond against Pompey at the Northern Gas & Power Stadium tomorrow (kick-off 3pm).
“Lewie’s technically very good, he’s a threat and he’s gained a lot of confidence,” said Jones.
“There is a bit of a swagger about him,which is good.
“You can’t inject people with confidence, they have to get that themselves and Lewie is one of those who has done that.
“He doesn’t say a great deal, but he’s always got a smile on his face.
“He’s one of the players who has bought into what we are trying to do. It seems to fit well with him and we’re seeing the best of him.”
Alessandra has excelled whether he has been in an advanced role or in midfield behind the forward three.
Pools will need the former Plymouth striker at his best tomorrow if they are to get close to Pompey.
A clash with Paul Cook’s gifted side is about as hard a League Two test you can get at the moment.
But Jones is up for the duel with his fellow Scouser and says Pools have the ability to pull off a result.
“If we are at our best and cut out the silly mistakes that we make sometimes then we can be match for anyone in this division,” said the boss.
“If we play to the best of our ability and everyone stays focused, we have a chance.”
Portsmouth have won six of their last 10 matches, scoring 19 goals in that spell.
“They are trying to get out of the division and are one of the favourites,” said Jones.
“They have a very good team, really good players, and a fantastic support. I’m looking forward to seeing them.”
Cook, who will include former Pools players Christian Burgess and Kal Naismith in his starting XI, has a very exciting force to watch.
But, just as importantly, his team have the best defensive record in the division.
“Cooky has a good side,” said Jones. “They’ll be hard to beat, and if we do get a result we’ll have earned it.
“I knew him when he was at Chesterfield, I helped him out a couple of times in pre-season when I was at Sheffield.
“He’s a Liverpool lad too, so there is that bond there, but he’ll be wanting to beat me as much as I want to beat him.”