SEVEN issues facing Hartlepool United boss Richard Money
It's been a baptism of fire for new Hartlepool United boss Richard Money at the Super 6 Stadium.
We’re just three games into his Pools rein and already, it seems, the honeymoon period is over - well, in Poolies’ eyes anyway.
One win - in the FA Trophy - has been followed by a home draw with struggling Havant and a loss at promotion-chasing Gateshead.
With Chesterfield up next, Money will be hoping his side can get back to winning ways - things are far from straight forward at Pools, though.
It’s clear the problems at Pools will be no quick fix.
But what are the issues facing the former Luton Town and Cambridge United boss?
Our Pools writer Liam Kennedy takes a look at the seven problems on Money’s agenda this week.
Money has played four different formations in his first three games in charge.
He’s also given gametime to virtually every single member of the squad.
It’s fair to say it’s been an experimental few weeks at the Super 6 Stadium.
Money said he is no closer to knowing his best team yet - that’s something that needs working out sharpish, with those in the relegation zone creeping closer by the week.
POOLS TOO EASY TO CATCH ON THE BREAK - HOME AND AWAY
Gateshead’s second goal came from a Hartlepool corner.
Goal after goal on home turf comes from the opposition soaking up all Pools have to offer and breaking at speed down the flanks.
This is, without doubt, Pools’ soft underbelly.
Hopefully Money’s vast experience as a manager will be telling in this area.
Mark Kitching is the only player Pools have who can operate as a left-back. He’s been steady enough, and seems to be getting better and better in a four-man defence.
On the other side, though, Money has a decision to make.
Kenton Richardson’s defensive frailties were opened up for all to see at the weekend, but the player is very good on the ball, is an always available outlet down the right and can cross a ball, too.
Harvey Rodgers can play there, so too Carl Magnay. Or Pools could even go back to a three. It will be interesting to see what Money does moving forward.
CREATIVITY AND GOALS - THE PROBLEM THAT NEVER GOES AWAY
Niko Muir is the only player to have scored more than one goal in the Pools frontline.
Luke James has just the one goal, so too does returning Jake Cassidy.
If Pools have any ambitions of a top 10 finish - the public pre-season aim, even if the players thought differently - they need to start scoring goals from somewhere.
Creating more chances would be a start.
DOES JOSH HAWKES FIT INTO THIS POOLS XI?
Every time the player comes on he has an impact. On Wednesday it was no different.
He’s a player who is raw, but one of the only players bar Ryan Donaldson who plays with his head up, can beat a man and shoot with left and right.
Money needs to try and find a system that gets the best out of both Donaldson and Hawkes. If he can, Pools could have some creative force of their hands.
STICK OR TWIST WITH CARL MAGNAY IN MIDFIELD?
Money thought the Magnay experiment worked, for me the jury is out.
The thought process behind it is that Money wants a player with defensive qualities to anchor the attacking unit in his side.
Magnay looked ill-fitted to the role and will no doubt be keen to return to his defensive duties.
SIGNINGS - TO ADD OR NOT TO ADD?
Money has spoken about not adding for the sake of it.
This is an admirable principle, but he probably knows he needs to improve his squad in certain areas, particularly the attacking third.
Width and goals are non-existent in this team, taking Donaldson and Noble out of the equation. That has to change.
It was about this time last year Pools started looking over their shoulders, and history seems to be repeating itself yet again.
An injection of something new would go some way to arresting the decline.