Matthew Bates backs defender to be the difference for Hartlepool United
Andrew Davies does not have to find the ball, the ball finds him - and that's a very good knack to have, according to Matthew Bates.
The Hartlepool United boss has been delighted with the performances of the former Middlesbrough man, with whom he was a former teammate at the Riverside Stadium.
Davies has played an integral role in a defensively tight summer for Pools, which has seen the club concede just two goals in pre-season. First choice keeper Scott Loach is even yet to concede a goal this summer.
His tenacious but clever, aggressive but cute style has made him stand out like a sore thumb in a 3-4-2-1 formation which has earned rave reviews.
After naming the 33-year-old skipper, Bates is expecting him to be a big player for his side, having dropped down to the National League for the final years of his distinguished career.
“I think he has the biggest head in football, hasn’t he?” joked Bates.
“He has that knack as a centre-half that the ball seems to come to him!
“That’s a great knack to have, he reads the game really well, he has been around the block at the top level.
“If we keep him fit he’ll be a massive player for us.”
Leadership was always something Bates was keen to add this summer.
And on reflection, looking at the friendlies so far he seems to have added the kind of experience needed as well as introduced some much more vocal individuals to the ranks.
Davies, with the likes of Liam Noble, fit into that category.
On improving that facet of Pools’ dressing-room, Bates said: “The new players are experienced, they have been around the leagues.
“Like I’ve said through the summer that was one of the main priorities, experience.
“So far results and performances have shown a sign of the characters in the dressing room.
“But it’s not just about the players we’ve signed, it’s the lads who were here as well last season.”
This afternoon Pools take on Bates and Davies’ former side Boro. Tony Pulis will be sending an under-23 side to the Vic for the match that kicks-off at 1pm.