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AS brutal as his assessment was, Peter Hartley was simply being honest.
Surveying the wreckage of another Hartlepool United loss – their seventh from 12 League One games this season – the skipper was dismayed.
“Ashamed” was his candid verdict after Pools rolled over at Leyton Orient without putting up a hint of a fight.
Desire is lacking within the squad as much as confidence right now.
“As a team we have got to be ashamed to be professional footballers after giving that sort of performance,’’ reflected Hartley.
“I’m the type of person to wear my heart on my sleeve and I’m playing for Hartlepool United, it’s everything I ever wanted to do – it’s my club.
“And I’m upset and disappointed with the performance and lack of fight and creativity. We seemed to defend for 90 minutes and we are inviting pressure onto us.
“It’s a difficult situation for everyone. But from the first minute it was a grind, we didn’t help each other and when one of your mates is having a bad day you help them out, but we didn’t do that.’’ Crawley, who sit fourth in the table, visit Victoria Park on Saturday. Their assistant manager, former Pools keeper Anthony Williams, was at the Matchroom Stadium on Tuesday and he won’t have gone back to boss Ritchie Barker with any positive things to say about their former club.
Nobody in the Pools camp did either following yet more dressing room dressing downs for certain players accused of not pulling their weight.
But Hartley said: “We have a great bunch of lads, we work hard every day and there’s no bad eggs in there.
Teams have been in worse situations than us and got in the top six or seven – all that matters now is getting points on the board, no matter how well we play.
“We have a good squad here, I think we should be in the top ten. Look at the points we have thrown away, we could be up there. It’s not like we are getting battered every week is it?
“We have led in a lot of games, but Orient was a poor performance.
“We aren’t nasty enough are we? We didn’t pick up enough second balls on Tuesday and we have to be more ruthless and it starts now.’