Crewe Alexandra at Hartlepool: Mathias Pogba backs Railwaymen to stay on track for play-offs
MATHIAS Pogba admits he is an optimistic kind of fella.
So the forward with the constant smile does not need to think twice when asked whether Crewe can make it to the League One play-offs come the end of April.
"Of course we are looking for the play-offs," he grins.
"We have 14 games left and we have to give 100 per cent in each, but a good run will come. We can do it. I'm a positive person. I always think positive."
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Crewe are 11th at the moment, 11 points from the top six with two games in hand on most of the teams above.
A win at Hartlepool this evening (7.45pm) could lift them to ninth, and winger-cum-striker Pogba has every reason to feel confident.
The 22-year-old is playing two levels higher than he was 12 months ago with Wrexham and he has already scored 12 goals this season.
He said: "I've learnt a lot this year. There's a huge difference between the Conference and League One. It's more football than battle.
"I've progressed during my time here and there is a lot more to come from me yet.
"I can't wait to play at Wembley for the first time (in the Johnstone's Paint Trophy final against Southend) and hopefully score a few more goals, too."
Pogba is expected to line up on the right flank this evening, having impressed in the role since returning from making his international debut for Guinea early this month.
Still, it would not be the biggest surprise to see him shifted inside by Steve Davis as Crewe look to crack a team who have not lost in their last six outings.
Pogba added: "Our team is very good for versatility. Most players here can play in about three positions.
"I don't mind where I'm playing. Up front is my preference, but I will just do my best for the team.
"I will keep going and want to do more and more and more and I don't stop until the manager puts his arm around me."
Hartlepool looked doomed to relegation after losing 18 and drawing seven of their 27 games up to the middle of last month.
But four wins and two draws have come from their half-dozen matches since, including an odds-defying comeback against Leyton Orient and a hard-earned point at Swindon Town.
That has seen them leapfrog Portsmouth at the bottom of the table to sit eight points and a good chunk in goal difference behind Scunthorpe United and the safety zone.
Supporters who were singing "You don't know what you're doing," at manager John Hughes have now started to dream of an escape from the clutches of relegation.
Hughes has nurtured a never-say-die mentality, says Crewe boss Davis.
That means everyone should expect to encounter a different beast from the side the Railwaymen have already beaten in the league and League Cup this season.
Davis added: "They had nothing to lose after finding themselves in a bad situation.
"They roll up their sleeves and fight and work hard for each other, it's clawed them up to within sight of getting out of that bottom area.
"They will fight to the end and we have got to more than match that effort then hope our passing ability will see us through. We have to be clinical in front of goal."
Midfielder Tony Sweeney is pushing for inclusion in Hartlepool's squad for the first time since he twisted a knee against Bournemouth last month.