Hartlepool United caretaker Sam Collins will have Pools ready for Stevenage

Sam Collins will take charge of Hartlepool United again this Saturday '“ but it will be a case of '˜for one night only'.

Thursday, 19th January 2017, 5:00 am
Sam Collins will be in charge of Pools on Saturday. Picture by TOM COLLINS

New boss Dave Jones will take up the reins officially on Monday, when he will be assisted by his right-hand-man, Kevin Cooper.

Collins was installed as caretaker manager at the start of the week after the sacking of Craig Hignett, following the 1-0 defeat at Crawley.

He has prepared the squad this week at Maiden Castle and will be in the dug-out against Stevenage at the Northern Gas & Power Stadium.

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Managing the team is not a new experience – this is his third spell at the helm, having being caretaker following the departures of Colin Cooper and Paul Murray, while last season he led Pools to two wins, at York and Fleetwood, when boss Ronnie Moore was away after his daughter fell ill abroad.

“It’s been about planning the week and getting things organised,” said Collins.

“That’s been the most important thing – to make sure everything is covered in terms of what the lads need for the weekend’s game.

“I spoke to the players on Monday and said I didn’t know if this was going to be for a week, a day, a game, or it might be forever, you just don’t know.

“I told them I would make sure that, come Saturday, they will be prepared and ready for the game – and they will be.

“I’ve done this before and stood in when a manager has left – this is the third time and I know what to expect.

“I was assistant under Ronnie and did quite a bit of coaching under Craig, so it’s something I’ve experienced before.”

The 39-year-old says he has enjoyed working with the players during the week.

“They are good lads all of them,” he said. “I feel they need help and I’m going to help them.

“I know what I want and how I want to go about it. Can I change much in a week?

“A lot of changes will be made without the ball because that’s one of the things I feel we are really poor at.

“Monday and Tuesday was a lot of work about that.

“My big thing is I know how I am in terms of organisation and I will make sure that come Saturday at 3 o’clock there won’t be any excuse about not being ready. No excuses.”