Ritchie Humphreys urges Hartlepool United to finish campaign strongly

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HARTLEPOOL United cannot take their League One position for granted and must kick on and finish the season strongly.

That was the message from Ritchie Humphreys ahead of their trip to Walsall tomorrow.

Pools have already hit the magical 50-point mark and are pretty much guaranteed to be free of any last-day relegation dramas.

But Humphreys insists it is not the time to be switching off and thinking about sunshine summer trips to warmer climes than Walsall.

“Yes, we’ve got 50 points and that’s great,” said the versatile 33-year-old. “But we can’t be over-confident and think our job is over.

“There is work still to be done and points to play for, starting tomorrow.

“We have put ourselves in a brilliant position in the league but we want to fight for the best possible finishing spot.”

Pools go into the trip to the Bescot Stadium in eighth and a magnificent seventh away win of the season would keep Mick Wadsworth’s side in that slot.

The table makes very satisfying reading for Pools, especially as they lead big-name clubs with promotion aspirations such as Charlton Athletic and Sheffield Wednesday.

But any hopes of a first appearance in the play-offs since 2005 would appear to be fading.

Tuesday night’s 1-0 defeat at home to seventh-placed Leyton Orient has left Pools 11 points outside the top-six.

However, Humphreys says it would be wrong to write off their chances.

“The play-offs are not totally out of the window,” said the testimonial man. “It would take a really strong finish but as a group of players we want to end the season as high as we can.”

Pools will almost certainly be without star turns James Brown and Antony Sweeney tomorrow.

Brown turned his ankle againt Leyton Orient while Sweeney suffered a nasty gash last Saturday in the same ankle he injured the previous Tuesday at Carlisle.