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Paul Hartley describes Hartlepool as ‘work in progress’ after Dons stalemate

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 2022-08-06
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Paul Hartley was happy with his Hartlepool side, as they started to show their worth.

Pools were humbled 4-0 at Walsall on the opening day but recovered to record a first point of the season at home to AFC Wimbledon.

It is a new-look Pools side with 14 new signings arriving and more to come, and new manager Hartley said: “We were really good second half and if we keep performing like that and get a bit of luck we will be OK and we will win games.

“We were excellent at the back with a different shape and system and it’s a new team, a new back three, a new back five, and we felt it was important to keep a clean sheet.

“If you don’t win the game then don’t lose it.

“Our defending was good and the back three and wing-backs were good. We trained all week very well and if we keep working hard we will get results.

“We have signed a lot of players and sometimes in football you don’t get time and we have 14 additions with more to come.

“We are a work in progress. Keep working hard and on another day you can get a result.”

The first half was a tame affair with neither side stepping out of first gear.

The home side took control in the second period and Pools’ best moments came on the hour when Jake Hastie’s cross caused chaos, was cleared and from the corner, goalkeeper Nik Tzanev made two fine saves from close range.

Euan Murray almost won it at the death when his 25-yard shot crashed against the crossbar.

Visiting boss Johnnie Jackson, also appointed in the summer, was satisfied with a point.

After a solid opening-day win over Gillingham, he said: “I think it’s a decent point at a tough place to come to. Second half there was a moment when it could have gone their way, but we had better moments first half and with that in mind, I’m OK with it.

“In my previous experience I know how hard it is here. Overall, we probably didn’t do enough to win it.

“When the crowd got behind them – and they really do here – we had to defend and we defended situations really well and we have to do that away from home and dig in.

“It wasn’t vintage us and we had to dig in, but we are showing a lot of resilience defensively – two clean sheets back-to-back now.”

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