CRAIG Harrison was pleased with the character shown by his team on Boxing Day. In the coming weeks, everyone connected with Hartlepool United may need a bit more than just regular character.

While Monday’s draw at Gateshead, with Pools were down to ten men for more than half the game, ended a run of five successive defeats, the club’s off-field situation is up in the air.

Pools go to Chester today, the team third bottom of the table and eight points from safety.

On New Year’s Day they are at home to Gateshead.

Once the holiday period is over, business attention will focus on Pools’ off-field problems. Up for sale and running out of funding, the club’s future is in serious doubt.

There has been a positive response to last week’s news that the club is up for sale and the owners are seeking a route out. Wages need to be paid at the end of the month.

The club’s Supporters’ Trust have issued a statement claiming they could take over the club until the end of the season if necessary. They are also declaring they are against a quick sale of the club if a new buyer is found.

“We want to re-assure our members that the Supporters Trust board believes we would be in a position to take an interim controlling interest in the club if called upon, and also if required be in a position to raise the funds necessary to ensure operational costs are met for the remainder of the season,’’ read the statement.

Any hopes Harrison had of adding to his squad in the coming weeks are over. He did have deals lined up, but they have been halted.

There is no money to play with and, with Preston set to make a move for Connor Simpson, that transfer fee will go a long way to keeping the club ticking over.

Striker James Thorne has already been freed following a futile short-term spell at the club, with Tomi Adeloye next to depart.

The pair were named as substitutes on Boxing Day, with Nicky Featherstone and Connor Newton both dropping out of the squad during the warm-up. Blair Adams will be suspended this afternoon after his dismissal and, while Keith Watson made a brief return to the side as a last-minute substitute at the International Stadium, he won’t start.

Harrison said: “We showed fantastic character which we asked for, we aren’t on a good run, but we were aggressive from the off on the front foot. Battling qualities which we want.

“The lads more than answered the questions. To go behind and come back showed spirit. We changed tactically and we told them to stick with it even if we conceded.

“First goal we had a man sent off and are reorganising from it. It took two defections on the way through and hit us.

“Coming back out we go 2-1 down with a replica – and it’s not acceptable as we reorganised at half-time.

“The pleasing thing is the belief we showed and the counter attacking football we played from wide.

“The most important thing is the belief we showed, we all believed in each other and did more than enough to get a point.’’

He added: “The effort we put in, it was back to basics, hard work, competitive, being aggressive.

“With pace out wide we knew we could hurt them. The plan was to allow their defenders to have the ball and attack them from wide. It worked. They had possession but didn’t have many chances in a game when they had an extra man.

“The belief was pleasing that we still went to win it. We didn’t want the players to change the plan, but I believe we have to stick with it and no go gung-ho. We created opportunities.

“The fans were spot on, no-one tried to shirk it and we all look at ourselves and see what we can do. Hopefully that’s the step to giving the fans what they deserve.’’