Caretaker doesn’t know how long he will be in charge at Hartlepool

Lewis Hawkins in action against Exeter City. Picture by FRANK REID
Lewis Hawkins in action against Exeter City. Picture by FRANK REID

SAM Collins admits he doesn’t know how long he will be in charge at Hartlepool United.

But he insists while he is caretaker manager the Pools squad will continue to improve.

The 37-year-old player coach took over on an interim basis, with support from Stephen Pears, after the resignation of ex-boss Colin Cooper.

In his two games in charge, against Sheffield United in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy on Tuesday and Exeter City on Saturday, his side has impressed.

Collins has turned to youth and they repaid him on Saturday, the win putting an end to a six-match winless streak in all competitions.

The caretaker boss has been pleased with his first week but insists further improvement is needed.

“We will improve, I will make sure,” said the veteran defender.

“We will train and train properly, work on shape and be hard to beat and then get the flair players on the ball and they will hurt teams.

“The worst part for me is not playing, I said to Stephen Pears that I just wanted to get out on the pitch and play.

“I was jumping for headers all game and making tackles!

“It’s horrible, but very enjoyable when you win.”

Within minutes of taking charge after last weekend’s defeat to Carlisle United, Collins started working on team selection, shape and tactics.

His hard work has paid off, so far.

Pools take their time appointing new managers but for now Collins is just doing all he can to help the club climb Sky Bet League Two.

“For however long I’m asked to look after things I will work hard and the players are going to have to match that and work hard and do what I expect of them.

“They have done that since they were in on Sunday morning and throughout the week.

“They have listened to what I wanted and taken on board the plans we put in place.”

Whether experienced striker Marlon Harewood has any part to play in those plans remains to be seen.

He has been left out of Collins’ first two squads despite being fit.

When asked about the striker, Collins added: “I left Marlon out because that’s the way I wanted to go.”

- RICHARD MENNEAR