Specialist coaching has brought the best out of Scott Loach at Hartlepool
Matthew Bates was full of praise for Scott Loach and goalkeeping coach Ross Turnbull after Pools' 1-1 draw with Torquay United.
A string of fine stops from Loach – including a first-half penalty save – helped Pools secure a point despite Torquay dominating after the break.
Bates was quick to praise the man himself and ex-Boro keeper Turnbull, who has been working on aspects of the experienced stopper’s game in recent weeks.
Those improvements have seen Loach take a leading role on and off the pitch in recent weeks, while taking the captain’s armband after Carl Magnay was ruled out.
And Bates says the impact made by the one-time England call-up has been massive, while confessing he believes that Loach should be playing at a higher level.
“He’s massively valuable,” Bates admitted.
“You probably look at the saves but as coaches we look at different things.
“Ross has been working on a few different things with him and without saying what they are, he’s come on massively in the last few weeks.
“Should he be playing at this level? No, he shouldn’t be. He’s been brilliant for us all season.
“He made a couple of great saves and I can’t praise the lad enough, not just for his performances but for how he is outside of the games.”
Loach’s performance was undoubtedly a key factor in Pools securing a point after they were pinned back by the Gulls after the interval.
And that onslaught – coupled with Aaron Cunningham’s red card – left Bates fairly satisfied with a point.
“We couldn’t get out our own half. Their full-backs pushed really high on and they caused some problems.
“Going back, we’re missing Woodsy and Carl Magnay from the other day so we just didn’t have the personnel to play the shape we wanted to play.
“With everything that went on, I think I’m quite pleased with a point.”