Ronnie Moore and Sam Collins are “victims” of Hartlepool United’s stunning start to the season, believes Pools chairman Gary Coxall.
Pools came firing out of the blocks, winning their first three league games and beating Fleetwood Town to progress to the second round of the Capital One Cup.
With those two specifically, they are the biggest victims of the start of our season
But that early season promise has subsided, with injuries, suspensions and inconsistency dogging Moore’s squad.
They currently lie 19th, after 18 games, nine points above the bottom two and nine from a play-off spot.
Back-to-back wins in recent weeks had revived optimism, with Pools beating Cheltenham Town to reach the second round of the FA Cup and the 3-1 televised win over Leyton Orient in League Two.
But the 3-1 defeat to Mansfield Town at the weekend ended that short winning run.
Prior to the wins over Cheltenham and Orient, Moore had come under criticism from some sections of supporters, for the first time since he took charge.
Moore and Collins – who were rewarded with longer term deals in the summer – retain their chairman’s full support though, who added they both give their all for the club.
“With those two specifically, they are the biggest victims of the start of our season,” Coxall told SportMail.
“People want to vent straight away after games, on social media, because they are angry if we get beat.
“What I want is for people to vent at me, that is why I’m on Twitter!
“I will answer people back but won’t try to be clever and sometimes I will try and be quirky but the beauty about the league is you have another game to put it right the next week.
“When you lose four or five on the spin, then fans have more of a point saying this is going wrong, that is.
“And then you have to take a step back and say ‘is it us or is it because of this injury or this suspension? And then take a view.
“Any criticism towards Ronnie and Sam is massively unjustified, they do a lot for the club that nobody sees.
“It isn’t just about naming 11 players on a matchday and doing a bit of training during the week.
“It wouldn’t be fair for me to say, as it may embarrass them, but they do a lot for this club.
“Scouting players, out on the road, and the same goes for Russ Green (the club’s chief executive).
“They are not the type of people that come out and say it but just because they don’t say it, doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen.
“We have had phone calls at 11.30pm, 12 o’clock at night, discussing players.
“We all want the club to be in a much better place than last season, to learn from it and avoid it ever happening again,” added Coxall.
Pools pulled off one of the Greatest Escapes in Football League history last season, defying all the odds to stay in the Football Legaue pyramid.
From the brink of despair, a Moore-inspired Pools side turned a 10-point gap to safety around to finish four points clear of the drop-zone with a game to spare in the end.
And Coxall & Co are desperate to avoid the club going so close to relegation again.