Hartlepool United’s new manager Dave Jones says he does not feel the weight of expectation on his shoulders.
The appointment of Jones to the top job at the Northern Gas & Power Stadium has led many to come to the conclusion that he is by far and away the most qualified manager ever to grace the dugout at Pools.
Every player has an opportunity to show their worth. It is now an opportunity to show their worth
Probably only Danny Wilson is anywhere close to the level of experience of the ex-Southampton, Wolves, Cardiff and Sheffield Wednesday man.
But that is not something that worries former Premier League boss Jones.
The only pressure he feels is his own expectation to succeed at the club, which he believes he cannot do without the full support of the staff and players around him.
“I don’t feel pressure at all,” said the 60-year-old.
“I know some of the people who have been here. They have been good managers.
“I have told the staff I cannot do this on my own – they all need to buy into what I want to do.
“I don’t think I have ever been to a club that hasn’t needed pulling up.
“You don’t get jobs at places when things are going well. There is no magic wand to fix things. People need to buy into what I want to do.”
Jones has been out of management since 2013 when he was sacked by the Owls. The fact he has not been number one at a club for more than three years has led many to wonder whether he still has the hunger for the game.
But that is something that Jones vehemently denies. His hunger is there and he is determined to succeed.
What he needs though, is for the players to show the same desire.
“I have watched the players a few times. They want to work hard, they want to do well,” admits Jones.
“Sometimes confidence takes a knock when you keep getting beaten. The only way to change that is by getting your head down and working hard.
“There are some very good players here, ones who know they can do better than they are doing now. They need to show that.”
When Jones took training for the first time this morning at Durham University, he was faced with some familiar names within the playing staff.
“I’m sure Billy Paynter cleaned my boots when I played,” joked Jones.
“Nathan (Thomas) I tried to sign at Sheffield Wednesday when he was at Sunderland and I had Batesy (Matthew Bates) on trial at Hillsborough. It is a good job I didn’t sign him or he might not be here.”
Past or no past, playing well or out of form, Jones has promised every player will be given a clean slate at Pools under his stewardship.
“Every player has an opportunity to show their worth,” said the Scouser who will watch tomorrow’s home match against Stevenage from the stand.
“It is now an opportunity to stake your claim.
“All I want is players and staff to do their job to the best of their ability. The big change is that we need to get a winning mentality.
“You only get that by winning games and working hard. We have to earn it so that is what we will try to do.”
Although there are few critics of chairman Gary Coxall’s decision to appoint Jones, some have claimed that it is a step back to the old guard.
When faced with this question, Jones said: “I have the knowledge, why not tap into it?
“There are a lot of managers like me about but clubs don’t think it is ‘the in-thing to do’. It seems to be that clubs do not tap into it until it is too late.”