Caretaker Matthew Bates insists Hartlepool United are not yet out the woods in their quest to retain their National League status.

Five games unbeaten and a run of three games on the bounce came to a shuddering halt yesterday afternoon as a Louis Laing error allowed Dayle Southwell to steal all three points for bottom of the table Guiseley. And Bates has made it clear to his players that despite opening up a seven-point gap to the bottom four, his side must not put their feet up between now and the end of the month.

He knows if they do, it could come to bite his side in the backside, because as Guiseley proved, the teams around them are fighting for their lives.

“We aren’t safe,” said Bates. “It’s game by game and I’ve not looked at a points total – this could have been a big step, but it wasn’t to be.

“A month ago and if we looked at where we would be now then I would have snapped their hands off and I hope everyone keeps going.”

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