Hughes is hoping for a happy home

The Northern Echo: HARDWORK: John Hughes HARDWORK: John Hughes

WITH back to back home games to come in the next week, Hartlepool United boss John Hughes wants his players to forget about their troubles at Victoria Park.

Pools have lost their last six League One games at home.

Not since a 2-2 draw with Doncaster on October 13 have they taken a point on home turf.

Away from Clarence Road, and four points from their last two outings, at Sheffield United and Shrewsbury, have given the players some welcome confidence.

Pools face Colchester – who have lost their last nine successive games – on Saturday before Bournemouth make the trip next Tuesday night.

“We need to get that monkey off our back, we need to get that momentum and spirit going at home and we need to get the supporters going at home so we are applauded off the field,’’ insisted Hughes.

“It’s not been doom and gloom, but winning a couple of home games can give us momentum.’’ Pools went down to a 1-0 defeat to Preston on January 1 at Victoria Park, an outcome that bewildered the manager.

“My frustration is that we beat ourselves,’’ he said. “Did Preston beat us? No we beat ourselves with a free header at the far post and we just about beat ourselves in the last ten minutes on Saturday at Shrewsbury by sitting back.

“We’ve got four points from two away games and we spoke earlier about consistency in performance – maybe we are getting somewhere.

“Maybe it’s the team shape that suits us right now, but I do want to play a lot more football.’’ Hughes has selected the same starting XI for the last three games, lining up with a hard-working 4-1-3-2 formation.

“Right at this moment we are fighting for our lives,’’ he said.

“We can change the formation if necessary in a game, but I said to Micky Barron before we equalised on Saturday that I wasn’t sure if we could change the formation to go and win the game and get an equaliser because it was keeping us so solid.

“But we have options at our disposal when everyone is fit.

I am stickler for keeping faith with the same team because even if someone has had a bad game, taking them out can shatter their confidence.

Leaving them in shows faith and trust.

“But I might have to change it a bit to freshen things up at times.’’ And Hughes insisted he is doing his best to add to his ranks this month.

“We are looking to improve the squad and our options,’’ he said.

“There has to be something happening and we are working hard behind the scenes to bring in the right character which is so important.’’

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