JOHN Hughes insists that he has detected a spirit inside his Hartlepool United dressing room which can lead them to safety.
The Scot has been in his new role for less than a week, during which time his managerial bow ended in a 5-0 defeat to Coventry City.
Hughes, though, says he has picked up on a togetherness among his squad.
“What I will say is, first and foremost, I think there is a spirit in there,” he told SportMail ahead of tonight’s visit of Oldham Athletic.
“We’ve got too many local boys in there who care.
“Do they care too much so it affects their performance? Yes. Are they trying too hard? Yes.
“It’s like playing golf, when you are playing badly you think about it too much and it affects your game, so maybe we are thinking about it too much.”
Hughes, however, is adamant that, over time, he will instil his footballing principles on Pools.
He went on: “First of all we’re going to have to fight for each other.
“And then I have to give them a platform and we can be a better football team.
“Can I get them playing better football? Yes.
“But will becoming a pretty football team give us a platform to winning matches?
“I’m sure one or two will turn their back on it.
“But I want those players who are coming with me.
“I need them in the dressing room to do that for me. I need 11 captains.”
Hughes is wary that an overnight improvement is unlikely, and he expects one or two “sore ones” over the coming months.
“All I said after the game on Saturday is that between now and the end of the season we will take one or two more sore ones,” he said.
“Sometimes, luck might turn with us and we get the first goal and turn a draw into a win and then take a sore one again.
“But we have to turn the trend, performances and results in our favour.”