No days off as Hartlepool United boss pledges to sort out defence

Pools' former Sunderland defender, Scott Harrison, battles at Wycombe in Saturday's defeat. Picture by Frank Reid
Pools' former Sunderland defender, Scott Harrison, battles at Wycombe in Saturday's defeat. Picture by Frank Reid
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The Hartlepool United squad are in for a tough week as boss Ronnie Moore looks to solve his side’s defensive failings.

Moore is concerned Pools are defending like they did in last season’s 10-month battle against relegation.

And he is determined to nip it in the bud, with any time off this week cancelled.

Instead, the players will be working morning and afternoon on their defensive shape and technique as Moore looks to end a run of three straight league defeats.

The 2-1 defeat to Wycombe Wanderers was the latest, with Scott Harrison and Harry Worley enduring a tough afternoon, Moore describing the defending for the goals as “astonishing”.

Dan Jones at left-back was also out of sorts, as Gareth Ainsworth’s side took full advantage of some sloppy defending to maintain their unbeaten start.

Both goals came from long balls that were not dealt with by Harrison in the first instance and then Worley, with Jones not tight enough to Michael Harriman who curled in his second of the match to seal the win.

Moore said: “We will be in all week, no days off, morning and afternoon while we work on shape and the like.

“We have a full week to work with the defence.

“We don’t want to go through what we did last season, we have better players this time and we have to prove we are a better team.

“I don’t want to be - and this club shouldn’t be - going through what we did last year, but we have to get the back line right again and tighten up.

“The first goal is a lump and a flick on, how can a centre-half be the wrong side of an attacker in the box? The second and we let an attacker come inside and shoot – you can’t do that, show him the other way.

“Yes he’s a right-footer, but he’s fired in on his left foot.

“It’s young, inexperienced defenders in there.

“Harry, Dan, Scotty they are all learning the game – there’s no dominant leader or experience.

“They are four individuals rather than a group.

“Play your own game and not as a unit, and you end up with players stepping up while others are dropping deep.

“Harry found himself out wide at times and was left for dead.

“You can’t get dragged out of position,” added Moore.

The League Two game was wide open in the opening 45 minutes and it made for an entertaining encounter.

Jake Carroll, Michael Woods and Billy Paynter all had good chances to score for Pools in the first half, while Harriman and Garry Thompson missed good openings for the hosts.

And with Pools 2-1 down, Rhys Oates should have equalised after the break but shot straight at Matt Ingram.

Moore, who felt there was little to separate the two sides at Adams Park, was left deeply frustrated Pools had missed a good opportunity against a Wycombe side missing key defenders.

He added: “It was too wide open for me, if we had a chance of winning here it was now with them having key players missing.

“They were there to be beaten.

“We need to get back to the basics and keep a clean sheet.

“Instead we are like we were last year and shipping goals, the centre-backs were all over the place and dominated by their strikers.

“If you can’t defend, then you lose. We have to put it right, it’s not about creating chances, but doing the job you have to do.

“Don’t do your job and you get punished.”