Stand-in Hartlepool United boss Matthew Bates has been given a ringing endorsement – should he want the job beyond tonight.
Bates has teamed up with club captain Billy Paynter and backroom staff, Stuart Parnaby and Ian Gallagher to run the team following the sacking of boss Dave Jones.
The 30-year-old, and his colleagues, lost their opener at Cheltenham last week and tonight must lead Pools to a win over Doncaster Rovers otherwise the club will be condemned to relegation.
Bates has made no comment about any longer-term ambitions over the vacant and, as yet, unadvertised position.
But Carl Magnay says his defensive comrade would make a good permanent manager.
“Batesy has taken on the role like a duck to water, he’s been superb.
“Whatever happens beyond this season, if he’s in a position where he wants to go into management or coaching then I think the club should seriously consider him.
“He has really made a good impression.
“Tactically he was very clever last week and I think all the lads pushed that ‘mate’ tag aside and looked at him as a manager.”
Magnay admits it has been tricky to remember to call a friend and team-mate ‘gaffer’ – that word being the norm in football when a professional addresses his boss.
“You walk around the place and you still find yourself calling him ‘mate’ or ‘Batesy’,” smiled Magnay.
“As a player I always have the ultimate respect for my manager, I always call him gaffer.”
The fact that Pools are without a boss is not the only senior figure they have lost.
The man who appointed Bates, Paynter, Parnaby and Gallagher has himself departed – chairman Gary Coxall has stood down with Pam Duxbury taking over as chairwoman.
While the issues over Jones clearly directly affected the squad, Magnay says the events this week in the boardroom cannot be viewed as any sort of distraction.
“For me, personally, once you cross the white line you don’t think about who’s in charge of the club,” said the 28-year-old.
“This could be used for an excuse, but as professionals we cannot let ourselves do that.
“We should be focused on the game.
“Yes, it’s unfortunate. From the outside looking in, there’s instability and all the rest of it, but it really doesn’t feel like that as players.
“Whatever goes on upstairs, that’s separate to us as players. It can’t be an excuse.”