Dave Jones believes Hartlepool United are going in the right direction – but admits they now need to back up promise with points.
Pools went into this weekend’s round of Sky Bet League Two fixtures only three points above the relegation zone.
What we are trying to do and how we are trying to play came together and Rhys Oates’s goal was from things we have worked at which is good for the coaching staff to see.
There are no panic buttons being pressed given there are still 42 points on offer, starting with this afternoon’s match at Colchester United.
Since Jones arrived at the Northern Gas & Power Stadium, with assistant Kevin Cooper and coach Alex Armstrong, results have been mixed.
Pools have won one, drawn two and lost three, though the manager has seen green shoots of recovery.
“It was a good performance last week against Plymouth,” said Jones in reference to the 1-1 draw with the promotion favourites.
“What we are trying to do and how we are trying to play came together and Rhys Oates’s goal was from things we have worked at which is good for the coaching staff to see.
“In a little over three weeks we’ve seen changes in certain patterns of play and how we are trying to do things and the players have responded well.
“We’ve had a lot to do in a short space of time.
“Against Plymouth we competed and did the right things and could have won the game.
“We feel we are on the right track and that there’s a quiet confidence growing that the players believe in what they are doing and that it’s working.
“But we do need wins and points on the board.
“We can’t rely on others, we have to do it ourselves and with the injuries we have we couldn’t have asked for more [from the squad].”
Jones spoke honestly about the changes he felt were required at the club, including upping the strength of the players.
“As a manager you don’t come into a club when it’s doing well, it’s always the opposite,” he said.
“We had to make things happen quickly and the players have responded to that.
“They need to be fitter, stronger and more aware of what’s going on but chopping and changing has not helped, missing senior players like we have, but it’s gone smoothly for us.
“League Two has surprised me a bit, but you always get surprises along the line.
“The players are very good technically and I wasn’t expecting that to be honest.
“I was surprised they weren’t as strong as I expected a League Two player to be, but with training and conditioning work we are trying to cram in we have seen changes and an improvement in all departments.
“But with so many young players you have to go over the same things two or three time.
“That’s what we are here for – to educate and improve the players.
“The lads have responded to what we are asking of them and I think they are enjoying it as well.
“It’s all well and good me saying it, but you’d have to ask them if they are buying into it.”