Matthew Bates wants his side to maintain their solid National League form against Sutton United this weekend to ensure they stay the right side of any gaps that open up in the table.
With over a third of the season’s league games already played, Pools are nicely placed on the fringe of the play-off places and have also booked their place in Round One of the FA Cup.
But Bates has warned there is no room for the players to take their foot off the gas if they want to keep themselves among the pacesetters during a critical stage in the campaign.
“It was nice to have a break from the league last week, mentally more than anything,” he told Pools PlayerHD.
“We’ve had a good start, we’re pleased with where we are in the league and it was nice to get through in the FA Cup as well so now we very quickly move on.
“We’ve only lost two games so far, we’re on a run of three clean sheets in a row so we’ve started well and the lads know that – but we need to keep going because it comes thick and fast in this league.
“It’s getting to the stage in the season where gaps might start to appear in the table and it’s important we’re on the right side of any gap, and the only way to do that is by winning football matches.”
Saturday’s visitors Sutton were one of the surprise packages in the National League last term, finishing third in the table only to fall at the play-off semi-final hurdle against Boreham Wood.
However, Paul Doswell’s decade at the helm has seen vast progress made on and off the field at Gander Green Lane and Bates reckons The U’s will be contenders for promotion again this time around.
“We had a good result there towards the end of the season which was important for us in terms of staying in the league.
“They will be physical, that’s the way they play and that’s fine – there is more than one way to skin a cat – and they do it well. They are coming off a very good season last year so we need to respect them.
“We will expect a similar kind of battle to the one we faced against Boreham Wood a few weeks ago but we came out on top against them and we’re determined to do the same on Saturday.”