Hartlepool boss delighted with keeper and back four

Scott Loach
Scott Loach

Scott Loach and Hartlepool United’s back four are stepping up to the plate in the club’s time of need - that’s the view of Pools caretaker Matthew Bates.

One of the club’s biggest issues in their struggles in the National League has been their ability to gift goals to the opposition and press their own self destruct button.

But those days are long gone, it seems.

Five games unbeaten, three wins on the bounce, Pools are cruising away from the fifth tier dropzone.

And Bates thinks a massive factor in his side’s recent upturn in fortunes has been improved performances from his goalkeeper, and the four in front of him.

“They were magnificent,” Bates said of his defensive unit after their win at Maidstone on Good Friday. “The back four were brilliant. the only disappointment was not getting the team sheet.

“Loachy pulled off a save that was nothing short of world class. That has kept us at 1-0.”

Since Ross Turnbull was brought to the club by Bates, the transformation in Loach has been incredible.

Videos and analysis of Arsenal stopper Petr Cech, who Turnbull was understudy to at Chelsea, have become the norm at Pools.

And Loach is clearly reaping the benefits.

“His performances have gone up a level in the last few weeks,” said Bates. “He has been a top keeper for us. I think it helps him that we are a bit more organised in front of him.

“I like to think Ross has had an impact. Ross is a keeper who has massive pedigree because of who he has worked under, the clubs he’s played at coaches he has worked under.

“There won’t be any keeper coaches as young as him knows as much as he does.”

One player questioned earlier in the season by many was skipper Carl Magnay.

Many fans questioned his leadership, but he’s more than answering his critics with some solid performances at the heart of Pools’ defence.

And Bates thinks it’s a position which suits him best.

“I have to say Mags has been a revelation at centre-half. What a game,” he said. “We had a chat after the game against Bromley and he told me preferred playing there because he feels he can have more of an influence.”

“And I think you could see that (at Maidstone). He was cajoling and organising all the way through.”