Matthew Bates reckons the Hartlepool United fans have a massive part to play in his side’s relegation scrap.

Despite a shocking season, and some extremely low attendances from visiting supporters, Pools’ crowds have held up remarkably well after the drop from the Football League for the first time in the club’s history. And Bates thinks that the punters on the terraces can have a big say in the club’s immediate future – although he accepts performances off the park often go hand-in-hand with what is produced on it.

“We have seen how good the fans can be at this football club,” said Bates. “We need them to stick with us and help us over the line.

“But we understand that comes with the performance of the team. We have to keep playing well to keep them on side.”

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