Matthew Bates accepts Hartlepool United will have to box clever in transfer market

Matthew Bates accepts he will have to do some wheeling and dealing this summer with budgets tight at Victoria Park.

Monday, 21st May 2018, 7:00 am
Matthew Bates.

New owner Raj Singh has taken the sensible measure of cutting Hartlepool United’s cloth to suit since taking over.

Gone are the days of Pools running a Football League budget despite being outside of the top four divisions - and that is no bad thing.

Instead Pools will strengthen, within their means, but be frugal and Bates, with the help of director of football Craig Hignett, knows he will have to box clever to get the right deals done.

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“It will be a hard summer,” said Bates.

“A lot of wheeling and dealing and a task I’m confident I can do to the best of my ability.

“I wish pre-season was here now as I’m anxious to get things sorted yesterday, but things take time and we are looking at June when the transfer window opens, maybe into pre-season.

“We will be patient in getting the right deals in and out of the club.”

Bates was back into the daily grind at the Vic last week having taken a few days to rest and recuperate ahead of a busy summer.

And he revealed that even on his break, away from the stresses and strains of management, the 31-year-old’s phone was ringing off the hook.

“Even while I was away there was a part of me chomping at the bit to get back to the office and continue the work we’ve started,” he said.

“Being a manager is a non-stop job so even while I was abroad there were calls and texts coming in all the time.

“We were only there three days but by the last night I was just looking forward to getting back to business.”

The appointment of Bates, in his first role in the dugout full-time, along with former manager Hignett in a more senior capacity has had many fans wondering just what the role of each will be, away from the football side of things.

Sometimes working under a director of football can make relationships strained and cause friction in the camp, but Bates says it’s the exact opposite at Pools. In fact, the pair even share an office at the club’s ground.

“I have been working closely with Craig Hignett who is obviously back at the club as our new director of football now,” he said.

“It’s been great to have that helping hand with things because I can allow him to do a lot of talking to agents and things like that which takes a lot of pressure off my shoulders to let me focus on other things.

“All in all it’s been an exciting and busy couple of weeks since the season ended but there is a lot going on at the club to get things prepared.

“There just seems to be a different feel around the place now and a togetherness coming back which is only going to serve us all well as we move towards the new season.”

One thing that Bates’ predecessor Craig Harrison received criticism for was his tactics and systems, whether fairly or unfairly. Bates has revealed he will make sure his players are able to play a number of different formations before the big National League kick off.

“We’ll be looking at playing different systems during pre-season; we’ll look at three at the back and four at the back so to do that we’ll need players who can adapt to both systems,” said Bates.

“It will be a smaller squad than in previous years but that flexibility is key and that’s what we’ll be looking for when we’re targeting new signings.”