MICK Wadsworth admits it is his head which will “roll” should Hartlepool United fail to pick up – but the manager is confident he has the backing of the club’s hierarchy.
The Pools chief has watched in shock in recent weeks as his side has plunged from the heady heights of play-off territory to the mid-table mire which he’d hoped they’d left behind.
A run of five defeats in six games is the third worst return in the division and only a 3-2 win at Chesterfield has offered light relief from what has been a wretched run.
Pools now face back-to-back away games in the league – at Leyton Orient and Scunthorpe United – interspersed by the FA Cup visit of Stevenage and Wadsworth knows that negative results will intensify scrutiny of himself and the team.
The boss has been torn between shielding his players from criticism of late while refusing to mask what he admits have been “very poor” performances.
But Wadsworth concedes that the buck ultimately stops at his door.
“I lead the players, I train the players and it’s the leader whose head is likely to roll,” he told SportMail today.
“But I don’t feel that’s the case here – we’ve done too much for a knee-jerk reaction, but we have to dig ourselves out of it damn quick.”
He added: “I’m a very experienced coach and I’ve been through tough times before.
“I don’t pull any punches and performances recently have been very poor – but we have too many players below par.”
Given the club-record start, which saw Wadsworth and goalkeeper Scott Flinders nominated for the league’s monthly awards for September, the first-team coach is at a loss to explain the sudden collapse.
“It’s very difficult to understand,” he went on.
“It’s a conundrum and a mystery.
“We have gone from something that looks pretty damn special to something which looks pretty damn awful.”
FULL STORY IN WEDNESDAY’S MAIL ...