'˜Let's not get carried away' - Matthew Bates keen to keep Pools' feet on the ground
Matthew Bates is keen to for everyone at Hartlepool United to remain grounded, despite a positive start to the National League season.
Pools broke their fifth tier duck on Saturday, beating bottom of the table Maidenhead United 2-1 at the Super 6 Stadium.
That made it just one loss in their opening five heading into this weekend’s trip to Dagenham.
It could have been more, of course, with four points going begging in the closing stages of matches against Harrogate Town and Braintree Town.
Bates is delighted with what he has seen from his players so far.
But he does not want anyone to think they can relax, as one win does not a season make.
“Let’s not get carried away. We have won our first game of the season,” said Bates.
“What we have seen from the players has been bright but we need to see them do it all season.
“Demands are high on the players at this level.
“We do not want to see any of them letting their levels drop - we need to keep them standards high.”
Football is a results business and Bates, having been a professional for more than a decade, knows that all too well.
Wins keep managers in jobs, too many losses can see calls for the P45 creep in off the terraces.
This season results have not be the be all and end all for Bates at Pools.
While his side took four games to get that first league win, he is no overly concerned by this.
Bates admits he’d have a whole lot more to worry about if Pools were not producing the goods out on the park.
“As a manager results are, of course, important. But you also have to look at performances,” he said.
“I don’t think anyone would argue if I said we deserve more points than our current tally.
“It’s just about making sure we do the same again. If we do that the points will soon be on the board.
“The concern for me would come if we had the same points and results but had not played well. Then would be the time to worry.
“It’s been a start with positives but we know we have lots to work on, too.”
While Pools’ strikers performances have caught the eye in recent weeks, it is the backline and its solidity that has given former defender Bates the most cause to praise his side.
Even without skipper Andrew Davies, Pools have looked like a transformed defensive unit - a far cry from the error-strewn shows of 2017/18.
“All you have to do is look at how many goals we have conceded from open play to see how well we have defended so far this season,” said the boss.
“With some players not in the team we lack a little bit of height.
“That’s maybe something we will have to look at for certain games.
“We are working a lot on set plays in training. We also feel like we can cause teams problems at the other end, as well as improving our own defending.”