The highs and lows of John Hughes’ 177 days in charge of Pools

John Hughes on the sidelines during the game against Swindon Town. Picture by FRANK REID
John Hughes on the sidelines during the game against Swindon Town. Picture by FRANK REID

JOHN Hughes’ first game in charge was on November 17 against Coventry City, with the team having picked up just eight points since the start of the season.

He got a taste of things to come with a 5-0 home defeat.

The poor run of form continued over the Christmas period, though a shock 3-2 win at league leaders Sheffield United on December 29 breathed new life into the team and sparked hopes of a revival.

But that joy was short lived when Preston North End won 1-0 at Victoria Park on New Year’s Day.

A trip to fellow strugglers Portsmouth on January 26 saw Pools return home with a moral-boosting 3-1 win and they carried that momentum into the next game when goals from Hartley and Poole secured a 2-1 win over Notts County – as well as headlines across the country for their combined surnames.

Hughes’ men then took points from back-to-back draws away to Swindon and at home to Portsmouth before a stunning run of three wins in three games against Leyton Orient, Scunthorpe and Crewe.

That gave Pools new hopes of avoiding the drop, but a 3-0 thumping by eventual champions Doncaster was followed by a dismal run that saw Pools fail to score in the next seven matches, and all but kill off any hopes of a great escape.

Two wins against Bury and Tranmere boosted the points total, but draws in the last two games against Brentford and Crawley weren’t enough to fight off relegation.

In total Hughes took charge for 29 matches, winning eight, drawing nine and losing 12.

He took 33 points from a possible 87 during his brief reign.