Ex-Middlesbrough star Matthew Bates will keep tracksuit at Hartlepool United

Matthew Bates and Ian Gallagher watch over proceedings at Cheltenham.
Matthew Bates and Ian Gallagher watch over proceedings at Cheltenham.

Matthew Bates insists he plans to stay on the sidelines at Hartlepool United.

The interim Pools boss did not pick himself in the starting XI at Cheltenham at the weekend and it will be the same this Saturday at the Northern Gas & Power Stadium, unless any mishap befalls Scott Harrison or Brad Walker.

I could not have gone on there [on the pitch] and given my all

MATTHEW BATES

Bates, as SportMail predicted, said it was vital he focused fully on the squad without the distraction of having to prepare as a player.

“To be honest, I decided early I wasn’t playing,” he explained.

“With everything going on, I wanted to concentrate on the team and preparing them right for the game.

“I didn’t think I could do it with so much going on.

“I decided on Monday and looking back it was the right decision – there’s so much on and so much to think about.

“I didn’t train all week, because I’ve been running the sessions so I could not have gone on there [on the pitch] and given my all.”

Bates says he has full confidence in the pairing of Harrison and Walker despite the winning goal of Cheltenham, with Danny Wright afforded the freedom of Whaddon Road, heading Harry Pell’s cross beyond Trevor Carson.

“I know it was a lack of concentration for the goal, but the centre-halves have been terrific,” added the interim boss, who is the front man of the quartet put in charge by chairman Gary Coxall following the sacking of Dave Jones seven days ago.

Bates says he has done the job his way – quietly and effectively and with the minimum of fuss.

“My team talk was very simple,” he said.

“We got together at the hotel on Friday night, we looked at the things we’d done in the week, watched Cheltenham on video and went for our tea.

“The players had been given their roles and they knew what they were doing and my message was ‘it’s down to you now’.

“We tried to leave it as late as possible to get to the ground for the game, we didn’t want them sitting around.

“We talked over a few things when their team sheet arrived, but it wasn’t a day for motivational talk.

“We didn’t need it, we knew what the jobs were going to be and we just wanted to keep their minds free.”