Shez Points The Way

JOHN Sheridan knows the threat that a relegation-battling team can pose to his Argyle side, and is ready to tackle a difficult fixture against Hartlepool United.

The Pilgrims will make the near 775 mile-round journey to Victoria Park this weekend to try and end a run of six games without a win, and the boss has been pleased with the work rate and effort shown by the lads during the week’s build up to the game.

“We trained really well this morning – training was excellent,” said John, on Thursday. “I have got a strong squad to travel to Hartlepool.

“The lads still believe. I have got to get this into the players, and the players believe more than anyone that we are one or two wins away from getting right back in the hunt, in the playoff areas.

“We have had a bad run and we are disappointed with it, but we’re all confident, which is the most pleasing thing. Hopefully we can take that into the game Saturday.”

Chances of picking up three points will no doubt be boosted by the fact that Peter Hartley and Luke McCormick are expected to be fit for the match, though Dominic Blizzard and Tyler Harvey will not be part of the squad that have traveledl up, as they aim for next week’s home game with Accrington Stanley as a return date.

Ryan Brunt will also be in contention to start against Pools, as the striker continues to bed into the squad and increase his fitness after debuting last time out against Morecambe.

“Brunty will come in and give us something different,” said John.

“He has fitted in well and trained well. I felt he came on last week and tried too hard – I said that to him and I think he agrees with me - but he has come in and got a game under his belt.”

Desperate to avoid dropping out of the Football League, Hartlepool need to improve on a Sky Bet League 2 record of just one win in their last 14 games. That desperation makes them a dangerous team to face on their own turf, and Sheridan believes their manager Ronnie Moore – who signed Sheridan during the twilight of his career whilst in charge of Oldham Athletic – is capable of bringing the best out of a highly-charged team.

“I’ve got a lot of time and a lot of respect for him [Moore]. I was coming towards the end of my playing career and he got me involved. I’ve always respected him for it,” said John.

“He’s a very good manager and he’s had a decent career. His know-how of the game is really good, and if any manager would go into a club like Hartlepool, I think they’ve picked the right man to try and get them out of where they are. That’s why I know it is going to be a very tough game.

“They played really well at Tranmere – they should’ve won last week. They played really well at Shrewsbury. We had them watched, and in the first half they played really well. They will be fighting for their lives.

“Darren [Sheridan, chief scout] watched them last week and said they were excellent. He has mixed it around a little bit, and the players he has brought in has given them a little lift.

“Unfortunately when you are at the bottom of the table, you don’t get your rewards. You just don’t get those bits of luck that teams at the top normally do, so you’ve got to work even harder and fight harder to get what you’re after.  

“But you think they are down there for a reason, and we have got to try and think about ourselves, and try and get back to winning ways.

“It is similar to us and the teams that are chasing trying to do well in the division; time is running out. If you are not winning games, you keep falling away. Hartlepool will be looking at that themselves.

“They are nine points adrift of third from bottom, so they will be fighting like hell to try and keep them in the division, and I am expecting a very tough game.”