FOUR key talking points at the dawn of a new era for Hartlepool United

Rhys Oates impressed for Pools against Stevenage
Rhys Oates impressed for Pools against Stevenage

Today heralds the dawn of a new era at Hartlepool United.

This morning, for the first time, new boss Dave Jones will take full control of the Pools squad on the training pitches of Maiden Castle.

Jones must weed out those who he thinks lack the stomach for a fight

But what kind of a dressing room is he set to walk into? What has he got to work with? And what, if anything, is in need of change?

Here we take a look at the talking points to arise from the weekend win, as well as some things the manager might want to work on moving forward.

The kids are all right

In my relatively short time covering Pools, I have called time and time again for Brad Walker and particularly Rhys Oates to get a shot in the side, just ask anyone who sits alongside me in the press box!

Now, I am coming at this with a clean slate, and both have flattered to deceive in the past, but it got to the point where surely, it was surely worth a try.

Gladly, Sam Collins saw that in the duo and allowed them to shine.

The big job now for Jones is to find out whether that kind of show from the pair was a flash in the pan, or they can finally establish, and re-establish in Walker’s case, their place in the Pools starting XI.

It will also be interesting to see whether some of the younger lads, like Kenton Richardson, will get a place in the side between now and the end of the season.

Midfield balance

Striking the right type of balance in the Pools midfield is something the previous regime struggled to get to grips with.

Just one game later and all looked well in the centre, due to the simple additions of the obviously talented, but said to be ‘off the boil’, Walker.

But one swallow does not a summer make.
For me, things still aren’t kosher in that area. Pools lack an enforcer.

With the ball, at home, and in front the midfield is full of passing, movement and flow. But when the backs are against the wall they have been proven to struggle.

This is something Jones will surely pick up on and look to address in the next week or so.

Forward reinforcements

One of the biggest questions for me is what to do with Billy Paynter.

Jones knows the striker, he said so at his unveiling. Although, he may not have seen the veteran this campaign.

After a decent return to action, Paynter has looked off the pace of late.

I think Jones either needs to stick with his fellow Scouser, a popular figure in the dressing room, or look to bring a targetman into the club, who will play regularly. This is no easy call.

Changing attitudes

And finally, probably the biggest challenge of all for the 60-year-old in the coming weeks and months, is to change an inherently negative attitude that plagues Pools both on and off the park.

Even after all of the positivity of recent weeks there are still scores of punters only too keen to jump head first back into the mire of doom and gloom.

Have a bit of belief. Back your team, the manager and, whatever your gripes, the chairman, too. Bright moments have been few and far between, enjoy it.

That attitude must also be changed in the dressing-room too.

It is not all that long ago Pools looked frail and soft. That cannot change overnight. They are much better than pre-Christmas but it won’t take a lot for that weak underbelly to resurface, should things turn.

Jones must weed out those who he thinks haven’t got the stomach for the fight.