Spirit can drive Pools forward, vows Bates

Matthew Bates (blue and white) defends at Cheltenham last week
Matthew Bates (blue and white) defends at Cheltenham last week
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MATTHEW Bates believes the togetherness and spirit within the Hartlepool United camp will see them through their poor run of form.

Pools’ 27-year-old captain concedes the start to the season has been disappointing but he hopes a good run of form is just around the corner.

Defeats to Stevenage, Bury, Dagenham & Redbridge and Cheltenham Town, to a last-minute goal last week, have Pools languishing in 20th place in Sky Bet League Two.

So far there has been just one win, away to AFC Wimbledon.

But back-to-back home matches against Shrewsbury tomorrow and Tranmere Rovers next weekend present Colin Cooper’s side with the ideal opportunity to put that right.

The pressure is certainly beginning to mount, but ex-Middlesbrough skipper Bates says confidence remains high inside the dressing room.

Bates said: “Straight after the (Cheltenham) match in the dressing room and on the coach home wasn’t great but you wake up the next day and have to get it out of your mind.

“The games come thick and fast in this league and you have to put it behind you – starting with Shrewsbury tomorrow.

“Shrewsbury have been relegated from League One, so you know they will be one of the better teams this season.

“I think they will try and play a bit and pass the ball and that is something we need to get back to, working the ball out from the back better and keeping the ball better than we have been.

“It is a cliché, but it is right and we need to make The Vic a fortress by winning our home matches.

“We have two tough home games against two very good sides that have just been relegated and they will be difficult matches, but I think most teams in this league are very similar.

“You need a bit of luck along the way and a togetherness and not to get too down beat after results like last Saturday.

“If you can get four or five games on the trot unbeaten then you will be up there.

“You need a good spirit and togetherness and we have that.”

Bates said defeat last Saturday to Cheltenham was a kick where it hurts but he is hopeful it will even itself out over the course of the season.

“Some people will say that goal was coming but it was a real kick in the teeth coming in the 90th minute,” said Bates.

“Football is like that though sometimes and those types of games will hopefully even themselves out and we’ll get a 90th minute winner at some point.

“I prefer to look at it that way,” added Bates who enjoyed a short spell training with Pools at the start of last season following his release from Bristol City.

At the time, Cooper was unable to make an offer for the defender and he joined League One side Bradford City but he is now a central figure at the heart of the Pools defence.

The club captain has also moved to wish Luke James well after his big-money move to Peterborough United on deadline day.

Bates added: “Luke will be a big loss as last season he scored a lot of goals.

“He is only 19 and he had a chance to go to a higher division and a club who have a reputation of moving strikers, especially, on to bigger and better things.

“I can’t blame him and he got his move in the end.

“We have players, like Charlie Wyke who has come in and done well and Marlon Harewood, who has been brilliant the last couple of games.

“We have people here that can help fill that void.”