Collins: Everyone has to take blame for Hartlepool Utd’s poor start

Sam Collins looks on against Sheffield United. Picture by FRANK REID
Sam Collins looks on against Sheffield United. Picture by FRANK REID

SAM Collins insists everyone has to take responsibility for Hartlepool United’s poor start to the season – not just former manager Colin Cooper.

The 37-year-old player coach has been drafted in as caretaker boss after Cooper handed in his notice on Saturday night with Pools bottom of the Football League.

The 3-0 home defeat to rivals Carlisle United proved the final straw and Cooper resigned within minutes of the final whistle.

Player coach Collins is in the manager’s hotseat for the interim, alongside Stephen Pears, but former Carlisle United manager Graham Kavanagh has held talks with the club about taking over for a short-term period, believed to be four weeks.

The 40-year-old was again in the crowd at Victoria Park on Tuesday night, while Hartlepool-born Mark Venus, a former Pools defender and Middlesbrough coach, is also in contention for a short-term appointment and was also at the cup match.

Former Sunderland and Middlesbrough midfielder Kavanagh remains the firm favourite though.

But Collins did his chances of being in charge for longer no harm after his young side produced an impressive performance against Sheffield United in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy.

Collins is enjoying the responsibility of management but admits the past few days have been a “whirlwind”.

He said everyone has to take joint responsibility for Pools’ current position in Sky Bet League Two, with the side bottom with just eight points of a possible 33.

The 2014-15 campaign has been a miserable one for Pools so far, with just two league wins out of 11 and just five goals scored all season in League Two.

Caretaker Collins is adamant the players have to take their share of the responsibility and has called on them to start climbing the table fast.

“We are in the position we are in for a reason,” Collins told SportMail.

“It is not just Colin Cooper’s fault, that is for certain.

“We can’t change that now but what we can do is make something happen and that is us getting up that league.

“There are still a lot of games left to play and points to play for and we have to do it now.”

The veteran defender confirmed he hadn’t spoken with Cooper before Tuesday night’s match at home to Nigel Clough’s Blades.

But he said he will be making contact with his former manager.

Collins added: “I will definitely speak to him because I have a lot of respect for the guy.

“I didn’t before the game because it is still early after what happened.

“I will definitely keep in contact with him though but I haven’t done that yet.”

Chairman Ken Hodcroft exclusively told SportMail earlier this week that the club would not be rushing into replacing Cooper on a permanent basis, in line with their usual process.

But Kavanagh lives at Wynyard, near Hartlepool, and has been a regular spectator at Pools matches this season and will have a good knowledge of the players.

Former Scunthorpe United boss Brian Laws has already confirmed he is interested in the “challenge” at Pools, while several other names remain in the frame.

They include Mark Proctor, former Pools players Nicky Southall and Graeme Lee – now a coach at Middlesbrough, Romanian Csaba László who is a former Hearts manager and former Carlisle boss Gregg Abbott, currently Number Two at Notts County to Shaun Derry.

The pair have just signed new contracts at the club but Abbott may be tempted with the vacant manager’s post at Pools.