Caretaker Matthew Bates reacts to Hartlepool United victory over Bromley

Matthew Bates
Matthew Bates

Hartlepool United caretaker Matthew Bates thinks the sky is the limit for Pools goalscoring hero Josh Hawkes.

The youngster scored a 10th minute cracker at Victoria Park in a spirited performance to set Pools on their way to victory over Bromley, their second win in a week.

And Bates is hopeful that the midfielder can excel within the first-team after scoring on his first full start for Pools.

He said: “Josh was magnificent.

“I worked with him all year in the reserves and I’ve been a big critic at times, sometimes you doubt his mental toughness and desire, you never see the full player at times until you see them in the first-team.

Bates' gamble paid off but was always confident with selecting the youngster in his starting line-up and hopes Hawkes can benefit from the experience.

“He’s learning and for his age you won’t see a better player in the area. His decision making was that of a senior player. He will stay grounded and have to react to the knocks.

“It’s up to him to go far and do it. He doesn’t doubt himself.

“I’ve been there myself as a young player, and he will get bumps along the way.

“I couldn’t fault him tonight. I had no problems with putting him in and I hope he gains confidence from it.

Bates was heavily impressed with the opening 45 minutes despite conceding just before the break.

He added: “A good win, deserved in the end. The first-half was the best I’ve seen us for a long time, this season and last.

“A sucker punch on half-time and the only way they looked like scoring was from a set-play.

“The message at half-time was forget that, it happens, we move on and kick on second-half.

“The dressing room was flat at half-time, we told them the positives and the truth. It was as good as I’ve seen us and told them to play with confidence, carry it on.

“We still played well in the second half and deserved it.”