Hartlepool United v Notts County: Pools must back up Yeovil win says Richards
There is no point beating Yeovil Town and then failing to back that up against Notts County.
That was the message today from Jordan Richards as Pools chase consecutive wins for the first time since November.
Pools saw off Yeovil 2-1 on Saturday, skipper Billy Paynter bagging his ninth of the season, when he converted a penalty, before Adam Jackson headed number two, via a Jordan Richards corner.
It may not have been the beautiful game but the right-back hailed a “great result” and says Pools must build on that at Victoria Park against 18th-placed County in one of the side’s games in hand.
“We haven’t been consistent this season,” the 22-year-old told SportMail.
“We need to back this up tonight against Notts County and move up the league.
“It’s all right people saying ‘we’ve got games in hand’ but if we’re not winning those matches then they count for nothing.
“We need to carry on from Saturday and try to get more wins.
“Hopefully it will be nice to watch but, at the end of the day, what the lads, gaffer and fans want is three points to move up the table.”
That victory was crucial – had Pools lost, they would have dropped to just a point above the relegation zone.
The three points lifted Pools one place and gave new manager Craig Hignett a winning debut.
“Everyone was buzzing,” explained Richards.
“It was a massive game given we were up against a team on the same points, so to get the win was brilliant.
“It was not always pretty but, at the end of the day, I think the fans will be over the moon we got the three points to help try to get us out of the position we are in.
“I think everyone is excited with the new gaffer, he wants to play the way he feels football should be played.”
And Richards hopes he is a part of that.
The Sunderland-born defender has endured a frustrating season.
He missed the start with back trouble, eventually returning in January for the FA Cup thriller with Derby County.
He is in a rich vein of form too, providing assists for Paynter and Jackson in the last two matches.
“I am enjoying it,” he said. “I was out a long time with a back injury, so I’m delighted to be playing every week and hopefully I can carry that on.
“That’s probably one of the main parts of my game, getting the ball in the box whether it’s from a corner, a free-kick or general play.
“I’d like to think I can get more assists in the coming games, if selected.”
For all he loves his assists – and shots – the pinnacle for any defender is a clean sheet and Richards admits there was frustration at conceding a last-ditch Yeovil goal on Saturday.
Richards was beaten to a header by Francois Zoko, who nodded past keeper Trevor Carson.
“Trev came in shouting and screaming,” he said. “I agree with him, we should be taking pride in keeping clean sheets, especially if you are a defender or keeper.
“To the back four and goalie, clean sheets are important, and to concede so late and against 10 men is a bit of a kick in the teeth.
“I’m just glad it did not affect the outcome of the game. But we worked really hard to get the three points and we have to carry that on and look to climb the table.”