JOHN Hughes hopes that the sighting of new faces at Hartlepool United will motivate the players already at the club.
The Scot has welcomed several trialists to Maiden Castle over the course of the past few weeks, although he is yet to make his first signing as Pools boss.
In that time his side has taken four points from two away outings, halting a run of 22 matches without victory when they triumphed 3-2 at Sheffield United at the back end of last year.
A battling point at Shrewsbury Town at the weekend was praised by the first-team coach, who believes he has seen real progress in recent weeks.
And Hughes says that the arrival of potential additions at the training ground has served as inspiration to the squad.
“The phone is non-stop with agents and we’ve got one or two trialists in at the moment,” he explained.
“I like doing that because if that was me (as a player) I’d look about and think ‘he’s not happy with what he’s got’, so that sends a wee message into the dressing room.
“It’s important that you keep the boys who are here on their toes.
“You can get a response from them with things like that.
“I think we’ve seen that recently, we’re heading in the right direction, I’m sure of that.”
Hughes concedes that January is unlikely to throw up any players who fit into his long-term goal for the club.
Nonetheless, he remains open-minded and has urged those trialists to take their chance to impress.
“When you assess these players they have to be better than what you have already,” he went on.
“It’s a good chance to assess their character and see how they are as people.
“But it’s a difficult time, all of the best players are usually under contract.
“You have to be very careful about what you bring to your club.
“But if there is anyone who has maybe taken a pay-off then we could spin the plates to bring them in.
“If we could bring them in until the end of the season then it gives me the chance to have a right good look at them.
“But it’s very unlikely that you’ll be bringing anyone to the club at this time of year who you’ll be saying to ‘there you go, there’s a two-year contract’.
“All that business gets done in the summer.”