RIGHT now, there’s no margin for complacency and Hartlepool United’s players need to jump into action in a flash, insists Simon Walton.
The midfielder is part of a squad of players involved in a scrap at the wrong end of the Football League with four games to go this season.
Pools are three points in front of second-bottom Northampton, going into the Easter weekend double against Burton and Morecambe.
One win will probably, two certainly, be enough to avoid end real end of season drama.
And Walton admitted: “It’s a fine line. I totally understand what the gaffer is saying that you can’t be negative and you have to go in with belief.
“But at the same time people have to start realising that before we do anything we have to put the effort in.
“You run, you tackle, you do the ugly stuff. You might not like it but you have to do it, especially the lower reaches of League Two.
“Like it or not you have to do it. At the end of the day, if you don’t do it, you’ll be found wanting.
“That’s what’s happened on more than one occasion this season.’’ Pools went down at home to Chesterfield at the weekend, losing another game by a single goal margin.
The promotion-chasing Spireites saw the second-half out with too much comfort and Walton added: “We said before Saturday we’d may be need one win just to calm everything down – we need to get it as soon a possible and we have two big games over the Easter weekend.
“We have got ourselves into this situation and only us can get us out of it.’’ Pools are at Burton, who have long been in the play-off zone, on Saturday, but their situtation will be a little clearer with the majority of teams playing on Good Friday afternoon.
“We shot ourselves in the foot against Chesterfield and we’ve done it quite a bit recently, hence the defeats by the odd goal here and there,’’ added Walton.
“We are not getting battered, but we are conceding sloppy goals and it is costing us points.
“Hopefully people will sit up and realise the task at hand. I don’t know whether it has been complacency or tiredness, but we need to realise we are not safe and it’s not holiday time yet.
“We have shown that on our day we are a match for anyone and we can produce performances at the Vic.
“We have got it in us but for one reason or another we are not doing it at the minute.’’ Pools have slipped from a safe spot with play-off ambitions to a worrying spot at the top of a struggling pack in a short space of time.
With four games to go – two at home, two away – Walton admitted: “It’s hard to put your finger on why this has happened, is it complacency?
tiredness? naivety? Possibly a mixture of all three to be honest.
“We are not getting battered but at the same time we are conceding sloppy goals .
Saturday’s two goals were easily avoidable.
“When we were on our good run we were keeping clean sheets and defending for our lives which hasn’t may be been the case lately.
Of their first game this weekend, Walton admitted: “We need to go there and get a result but not necessarily grind it out.
We have proved we can match any team on our day.
“It’s not a case of grinding it out but believing we can go there and turn them over.
“We are at the stage now we need a win “It’s not a situation we thought we’d find ourselves in, but maybe that’s the problem.’’