Cherries: Fletcher warns of Hartlepool threat

29 April 2011 07:00
STEVE Fletcher has warned his Cherries team-mates to be wary of the threat posed by Hartlepool, insisting the Teessiders still have plenty to play for.

Fletcher tomorrow returns to his hometown club knowing a win at Victoria Park would all but secure Cherries a place in the League One play-offs (3pm).

Pools, meanwhile, currently occupy 15th place and have little riding on the contest, with boss Mick Wadsworth likely to field an experimental line up.

However, Fletcher maintains the hosts' circumstances can cause a different set of problems and says Cherries will need to be on their mettle in the north east.

He told the Daily Echo: It is all about finding that balance. We are on a high and the boys have been lifted by our result against Bristol Rovers. This is Hartlepool's final home game of the season and they will want to leave Victoria Park on a positive note.

I know their manager made a number of changes for their last game and could do the same again. People will be trying to impressive and playing for new contracts so they will have a point to prove. You don't get the type of game any more where there is nothing to play for.

We have got to be aware of them and will be. They beat us at home in our centenary game in December so we need to make sure we are disciplined and professional and, hopefully, do the job that needs to be done.

Fletcher and boss Lee Bradbury started their managerial reign with a 10-match unbeaten run and were 13 points clear of seventh place at the start of March. However, their advantage has been eroded to just three points, with Leyton Orient their nearest pursuers.

The Londoners, whose goal difference is 13 worse than Cherries, tomorrow host Tranmere before visiting Plymouth on the final day of the season when Bradbury's men entertain Rochdale.

Fletcher added: Five or six weeks ago, I wasn't really looking at the Rochdale game and thinking it could come down to that but, two or three weeks ago, I was. Everybody wants it done and dusted before next week so we know where we stand.

Never has the old cliché taking one game at a time been more apt. We can't think any farther ahead than Hartlepool and are going there to win. We won't be going into the game with a kamikaze attitude but we never set up to try to contain the opposition. We have never done that and wouldn't be at our best if we did. We will approach it like any other game.

Bradbury will be forced to make at least one change with midfielder Danny Hollands ruled out due to a one-match suspension following his red card against Bristol Rovers. Pools skipper Sam Collins will be sidelined for the same reason after being sent off in their 2-0 defeat at Southampton.

Defender Rhoys Wiggins, midfielder Mark Molesley and striker Michael Symes could all be in contention to return to the Cherries squad.

Cherries: (from) Jalal, Smith, Cooper, Pearce, Cummings, Feeney, Robinson, McDermott, Lovell, Ings, Fletcher, Arter, Baudry, Purches, Pugh, Dalla Valle, Molesley, Partington, Wiggins, Symes, Thomas.

Pools: (from) Flinders, Horwood, Haslem, Hartley, Humphreys, Liddle, Gamble, Monkhouse, Yantorno, Sweeney, Austin, McSweeney, Behan, Boyd, Mackay, Larkin, Rowbotham, Rafferty.

Source: Bournemouth_Echo

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