Players must take some of the flak for Hartlepool United’s dismal run – Stephen Wright

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STEPHEN Wright believes Hartlepool United’s players must start taking some of the flak directed at manager Mick Wadsworth.

The first-team coach has protected his troops from the criticism which has accompanied a seven-game losing run at Victoria Park.

But Wright insists only the players can correct matters on the pitch and says it’s high time they did their gaffer a good turn.

“Mick takes a lot of flak for us,” the former Sunderland defender said. “He is brilliant at what he does. But we have to take it as well and we have to have broad shoulders

“Don’t forget, we have a lot of games still to play. And it’s the players who are going to get us out of this situation.

“Runs like this are testing and you find out the personalities in the camp.”

Wright has seen a lot in his short time at the Vic, from the euphoria of climbing to third place amid a club-record start to the season to the despair of this latest slump.

But the 31-year-old, having played at the highest level with both Liverpool and Sunderland, is adamant that his new team-mates are as spirited a bunch as he’s worked with, and that is why he believes they have what it takes to turn around recent form.

“The lads here are first-class, they really are,” he went on. “Everyone is wanting to push. There’s no one who you think ‘I don’t want him in the camp’ – and I’ve been in that situation before.

“There’s no bad eggs there. They are all good lads trying to push on. But you have to do it every game, you can’t just turn up.

“We need to regroup as players and get us back on track and back up the table.”

Pools’ preparations for Saturday’s trip to Brentford were continuing at Maiden Castle today.

Their away form – the second best in the division – is keeping alive hopes of a return to play-off territory. But Wright understands the frustration of the home crowd.

“It’s not nice seeing the fans having a little go, but they are right,” he said. “We haven’t played as well as we can – but away form is a lot better than at home. Things are tight in the league at the moment and we are trying to turn a corner and one win could do that for us.”