Graeme Lee talks sleepless nights and to-do lists as he reflects on his first month in charge at Hartlepool United

It’s been a busy first month in charge of Hartlepool United for manager Graeme Lee.

By Joe Ramage
Friday, 7th January 2022, 6:00 am

After weeks of searching, Pools named Lee as their new boss at the beginning of December alongside his assistant Michael Nelson and the pair have had plenty to deal with during their opening spell in charge.

Lee and Nelson were interested spectators at Hillsborough on the day of their appointment taking on a watching brief as Pools swept aside Sheffield Wednesday in the Papa John’s Trophy.

Since then Lee has taken to the dugout six times across three competitions and has had to negotiate the impact of COVID-19 on his squad all while preparing for the January transfer window with Pools expected to make moves in the market this month.

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Graeme Lee was appointed Hartlepool United manager in December taking over from Dave Challinor. (Credit: Mark Fletcher | MI News)

And things won’t settle down for Lee and his team anytime soon with Pools still competing on three fronts ahead of Saturday’s FA Cup tie with Blackpool.

Pools host Charlton Athletic in the quarter finals of the Papa John’s Trophy and will be looking to improve their form in League Two in order to distance themselves from any threat of relegation back to the National League.

But so far, Lee can be satisfied with his month's work.

Pools endured an uncertain period following the exit of Dave Challinor but Lee has been able to steady the ship with just one defeat in his six games in charge.

Graeme Lee has reflected on his first month in charge at Hartlepool United. Picture by FRANK REID

But is Lee pleased with his first few weeks having made the step up from Middlesbrough’s academy?

“If you went off my sleepless nights then probably not no,” said Lee.

“I’ve been in a month and I’ve got a plan to reflect after a month but it’s a busy time at the moment. I had plans when I came in to try and tighten things up the best we could and keep us in games and then it’s about us moving forward now.

“Results wise it’s been positive. Obviously the disappointing one on Boxing Day but I know there’s so much more to come.

“But the first month I’ve come in I've not tried to change a hell of a lot, I've just tried to see how things go but now it’s time to reflect and look at where I want to move forward from now.”

Lee marked his one month anniversary in the dugout with Tuesday's win over Bolton Wanderers. It is the third time Pools have triumphed against higher level opposition since his arrival.

But while Lee has not had much time to analyse his opening stint as Pools boss he admits he is excited to continue building on the foundations being put in place.

“It’s been a month now since I’ve come in and I have mentioned to staff that I want to sit down to reflect a little bit on where we are and how we want to do and how we want to move forward.

“When you say it’s been a month it has [flown by]. But then I also feel like I've been in the job for quite a while now.

“It’s been a fantastic month but there’s so much to look at, reflect at and to work on and my role is to make sure we’re successful on that pitch and that’s what I’ll be aiming to do going forward.”

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