COLIN COOPER is calling for spirit and “big hearts and minds” in his Hartlepool United squad.
With four games remaining, and after five defeats in a row, Pools are only three points clear of relegation from the Football League.
After losing 2-1 to Chesterfield at Victoria Park – the fourth time in five defeats they have been beaten by a one-goal margin – Cooper turned his attentions to the final few games, labelling them a “three-week shoot-out”.
He added: “We have four games, we need as many people on the pitch at Burton next week with big hearts and minds and same again on Easter Monday at home to Morecambe.
“Two good games and, to make sure people don’t start getting jittery, three or four points on the board quickly and we are OK.
“If we don’t otherwise it’s a strong mental approach in the last few weeks.’’ He added: “The players we have are more than capable of getting results to sat above the danger zone, but it’s now a three-week fight for all of our lives.
“Everything is fine when you are playing well and the ball is flowing and it’s looking good – like Torquay and Bristol Rovers here. When it’s not you have to fight and find something different in spirit and mentality.
“We all want to play football nicely, but we sensed the occasion was on the wane for one or two of the players.
“They needed to win to maintain their promotion push, we needed to get over 50 points and they had a little bit more than us.
“You can’t hide behind the facts and now show the problems we have in conceding goals. Look at the last few games and there’s pretty specific reasons why.’’