Caretaker Sam Collins has urged Hartlepool to ‘hurt’ Luton Town

Matty Bates in action against Exeter City. Picture by FRANK REID
Matty Bates in action against Exeter City. Picture by FRANK REID

CARETAKER boss Sam Collins has urged his confident Hartlepool United players to “hurt” Luton Town with their attacking play. writes RICHARD MENNEAR.

Pools are looking to build on last weekend’s 2-1 win at Exeter City when John Still’s fourth-place Luton side visit Victoria Park tomorrow (KO 3pm).

Collins says confidence levels are high amongst his squad and he is looking for them to maintain a high level of performance in front of the home fans.

The 37-year-old is in temporary charge of first team affairs following Colin Cooper’s resignation and while the search continues for a new manager, Collins insists he will be giving it his all as caretaker boss.

Collins said: “The fans have been patient with us and I can tell them that however long I am doing this for I will give it everything I have possibly got – everything inside me to make us win football matches.

“Whoever goes out and plays will give everything they have got – if they don’t then they won’t be playing, it’s as simple as that.

“I’ve been here a long time and I know the crowd will accept someone making a mistake, what they won’t accept is someone not trying.

“To play in my team you have to be flat out, giving everything you have got.

“In League Two, you put players under pressure and they make mistakes, that’s the message.

“We have players who can go and hurt the opposition.”

Collins, who is being assisted by Stephen Pears and Brian Honour, is enjoying his spell in charge of Pools and admits he has been looking forward to 3pm on Saturday since the final whistle blew at Exeter last weekend.

Pools are 21st in League Two, while tomorrow’s visitors are fourth from top and have won four out of their last five matches.

Luton were promoted from the Conference last year and have settled in well to life in League Two but Collins insists there is nothing to fear.

He added: “I can’t wait to get to the game – I enjoyed last week and we finished off with a great result.

“The message is simply same again. They know what I expect and we will give them as much information as we can on Luton.

“We will make sure we are well organised and set up to go and win the game.

“Exeter had won four in a row last week, Luton are in form now.

“We give the players as much information as we can but it’s all about us and if we can play like we did last week we can go and win this one.

“Training has been bright and good, the lads look like they have their confidence back and look ready to play already.

“Now we need to get the balance right to save it for tomorrow because as soon as the game starts I want them bang at it.”

Scott Flinders will continue to wear the captain’s armband, after Collins decided to take it off Matthew Bates, who is again expected to be deployed in central midfield.

Adamant Collins added: “I’ve always been an honest player and I will be an honest manager.

“If they don’t like it then there’s nothing I can do about that.

“The most important thing is Hartlepool United winning football matches.

“However I go about it in the next few weeks I’m not scared of upsetting people and telling them what I think and that’s exactly what I’ve done.

“It’s not difficult to do that.

“It’s in the best interests of the football club – players, staff, fans – and I’m in charge at this moment in time, so I’ll do it my way.”

Stuart Parnaby remains out with a knee injury but aside from that Collins has a fully-fit squad to choose from.

Pools (likely): Flinders (C), Duckworth, Austin, Harrison, Jones, Miller, Bates, Woods, Brobbel, Hawkins, Wyke.

Subs (from): Woodman, Richards, Holden, Green, Walker, Atkinson, Smith, Franks, Harewood.