Collins: Hartlepool United are lacking leaders after home defeat to Luton Town

Sam Collins on the sidelines during the game against Luton Town. Picture by FRANK REID
Sam Collins on the sidelines during the game against Luton Town. Picture by FRANK REID
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CONCERNED Sam Collins believes his struggling Hartlepool United squad is “unbalanced and lacking leaders”.

The 37-year-old was left frustrated after seeing his side beaten 2-1 by Luton Town at Victoria Park to leave them just a point above the drop zone.

Collins has now been caretaker boss for two weeks while the search for a permanent manager continues.

The player coach has impressed, freshening up the side and tweaking the formation but the lack of goals continues to haunt struggling Pools, who are now 22nd in Sky Bet League Two.

Honest Collins also believes the current squad is lacking in leaders.

“It is different trying to get your message across to the players on the pitch from the touchline and you look to some of the older ones to take that mantle on,” said Collins.

“I do think we lack leaders in our team and we are probably a couple short in regards to that.

“You look at Luton, they had Steve McNulty and Luke Wilkinson and if you look right throughout League Two, teams like Bury who have Pablo Mills for example.

“You need those types of players in your team and we need a couple of players of that ilk.”

Asked whether he has any scope to bring new players in, Collins said he certainly felt reinforcements were needed quickly – whoever is in charge.

He added: “There are conversations going on all the time.

“If we can get the right players in then the club would.

“Whether it is me in charge or someone else does come in, I do think we need two or three players just to strengthen.

“We need some leaders just to add to the group really and that would make a big difference.”

Pools currently have several younger players in the first team including 19-year-old Dan Jones plus Lewis Hawkins, Ryan Brobbel and Charlie Wyke, who are all 21 and started on Saturday.

While the likes of Connor Smith, 18, Josh Nearney, 19, and 17-year-old Kieran Green were on the bench.

The young fringe players have impressed since being given a chance.

But Collins admits the squad is unbalanced with too many players at either end of the age spectrum and not enough senior players in the middle with league experience.

But he doesn’t believe Pools are far away from having a good squad.

Collins added: “The squad is unbalanced, I would agree with that.

“If I was asked to do it [become manager] and thought I wanted to, then I would want to address that.

“If it is not me, but someone else, then they would need to do that anyway.

“We are two or three players away from having a really good group.”

Luton Town boss John Still praised Pools after the match for their positive approach to the match.

Collins revealed: “I was in the manager’s room with John afterwards and he said if we keep playing like that we won’t have anything to worry about.

“It is good of him to say but it doesn’t change the fact we are disappointed we have lost.”

Collins, who is being assisted by Stephen Pears and Brian Honour, said he doesn’t know how long he will be in charge for - he just intends to “crack on” until told otherwise.

But he will be in charge for tomorrow night’s trip to Accrington Stanley in League Two.