FORMER Hartlepool United defender Evan Horwood has revealed that John Hughes was popular in the Victoria Park dressing-room – but he is not surprised at news of his sacking.
The 27-year-old was released by the club on Tuesday with Hughes and assistant boss Micky Barron yesterday following him out of the door.
SportMail understands many of the current Pools players are saddened by the Scot’s departure and were encouraged by his plans to rebuild the squad over the summer.
Those sentiments have been echoed by Horwood, although he concedes the playing staff had their suspicions that all was not well behind the scenes.
“Reading between the lines of what has been going on at the club these past couple of weeks I’m not shocked at the news,” he told SportMail today.
“Maybe that is why there was the delay in announcing the retained list?
“You hear so many different things and it’s been a strange time at the club.
“But I’ve got to say that he was popular amongst the players.
“I really got on with him and was surprised when I was released this week, maybe he didn’t make that decision.”
Pools will now begin their assault on League Two minus both Horwood and Hughes.
But the ex-player believes his former manager would have achieved promotion given the chance to shape his own team.
“When he first came in (in November) he gave everyone a lift,” Horwood added.
“We took to him and we did pick up on the pitch.
“I thought he’d done a good job and and I was expecting him to get us back up next year.
“I feel for him but I’m sure he’ll get another job.”
And Horwood, despite his own release, hopes that the club does bounce back next season.
“This sort of thing happens I suppose,” he went on, “I just hope the club gets the new manager sorted quickly and they can get ready for next year and get promotion.”