Hartlepool boss Ronnie Moore inspiring the next generation of managers

Sam Collins

Sam Collins

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Sam Collins is relishing learning from the best in Hartlepool United manager Ronnie Moore.

The pair were thrown together last December when Moore took over as Pools boss after the sacking of Paul Murray.

And the club hasn’t looked back since, successfully battling against relegation last season against all the odds.

Ex-defender Collins, with 585 games under his belt, harbours ambitions of becoming a manager one day himself.

But for now he is enjoying working under and learning from vastly experienced Moore, who has previously managed Rotherham United, Oldham and Tranmere Rovers.

“The manager has been fantastic for me,” Collins told SportMail.

“Working alongside him, watching and learning and taking his experience on board.

“It has been great for me and good for me to understand all the things he does.

“Somewhere down the line it will be good for me and stand me in good stead.

“I am enjoying it. There is obviously two sides, when you win it is great and when you lose not so much.

“But the last 18-months have been invaluable and I am enjoying it.”

Does he miss playing?

“I love playing but I haven’t had that much time to think about it,” admitted Collins.

“Too busy coaching - and everything else that comes with it!”

Since being given more responsibility under ex-manager Colin Cooper, Collins has taken to coaching like a duck to water.

He initially combined playing with coaching but hasn’t featured for Pools since being named assistant manager under Moore, the pair signing new long-term deals in the summer.

Collins is no stranger to leading the side himself either, filling in when Moore was recently away after his daughter Charlotte contracted pneumonia.

The 38-year-old oversaw wins over Fleetwood Town in the Capital One Cup and York City in League Two in Moore’s absence.

And he led the side as caretaker boss last October when Pools secured a 2-1 win at Exeter City - Saturday’s opponents.

Moore will no doubt be picking his brains ahead of the long trip south, with Collins more than familiar with their style of play.

Pools, ninth in League Two, are looking to end a run of three straight league defeats.

Collins added: “Whenever we go down there, Exeter always play the same way.

“They are a good footballing team, keep the ball really well and play clever systems at times.

“That is why we needed to get the work in straight away because we know we have to be well organised.

“If we can hurt them on the counter attack going the other way we will cause teams problems but we need to be hard to beat.”