PAUL Murray’s transition into management has been seamless, according to former teammate Neil Austin.
The pair played together for three seasons between 2010 and 2013 and Austin has tipped his new manager for a long and successful career.
The Cumbrian left Victoria Park to join Oldham Athletic after making more than 100 appearances for the club he now manages.
He’d always expressed a desire to move into coaching once he retired from playing and the 38-year-old worked his way up to become assistant boss under Lee Johnson at Oldham.
Now he is back at Pools, orchestrating from the sideline rather than dictating play in the centre of midfield.
Austin said he was “brilliant” to play alongside and is now enjoying playing under him.
“Sometimes it can be a bit strange when players go into the other side and you are then working underneath them,” said Austin.
“But it hasn’t been odd working under the gaffer at all. He has come in, taken to it really well and it all seems to come to him quite naturally.
“The gaffer had an excellent career as a player and he was brilliant to play with.
“From the early signs we have seen of his managerial career, I don’t see why he can’t go on and have a successful career in that as well.
“There have been a few tweaks formation wise but the main thing has been the differences in training.
“It is always good to get new ideas.”
This week the squad has been enjoying yoga and pilates sessions at their Maiden Castle training base in Durham – including coaches Stephen Pears, Sam Collins and Willie Donachie.
Austin said: “Over the years I have been a fan of pilates and it is something I am really into.
“The lads were a bit stiff on Tuesday but Willie is very flexible for his age.”
The squad were in need of a bit of relaxation after last weekend’s cup win at home to East Thurrock United.
Pools made hard work of the 2-0 victory but their reward was a tantalising North East derby with Blyth Spartans at Victoria Park next month - the game due to be televised live on BBC Two.
“The FA Cup matches are not as easy as the bookmakers make out,” Austin told SportMail.
“There are upsets and banana skins up and down the country so it was nice not to be one of them.
“It was positive for us to keep a clean sheet and to score a couple of goals and the training ground has been much more positive.
“I knew the second round would be televised as soon as the draw was made.
“It has all the makings of a classic and they will bring a good number of supporters with them.
“There may be a bit more pressure surrounding the match in the build-up but once the game kicks off people will forget about the cameras and it is just another game.”
Austin said the players will be taking the confidence gained from the cup win into tomorrow’s trip to Southend United.
“Southend is a difficult place to go to,” added the versatile defender who is set to return to left-back.
“They are not on the best run at home but we will show them the respect they deserve and give it a good go.”