Hartlepool United’s new boss is confident: 100%

Matthew Bates
Matthew Bates

Matthew Bates has total belief in Hartlepool United escaping relegation trouble.

The defender has been put in charge for the last two games of the season in alliance with club captain Billy Paynter, plus backroom staff, Stuart Parnaby and Ian Gallagher.

It’s a mini-league for us, three teams, we need to finish top of that


“Am I confident?” said Bates. “100%.”

The 30-year-old and his comrades have taken over following the sacking of Dave Jones following a disastrous run of results and displays .

Back-to-back wins will be a must for Pools against Cheltenham and Doncaster, starting with Saturday’s trip to Whaddon Road.

“It’s a task that’s achievable,” said the ex-Boro star.

“That’s my message, I would not be sat here now if I didn’t think it was.

“We need to win and there is no reason why we can’t go there and do that.”

Pools are in the bottom two for the first time since March 2015, when then boss Ronnie Moore engineered the Great Escape.

Bates & Co must produce something equally as dramatic now.

Pools are on 43 points with a goal difference of -21, with Newport on 45 (-22) and Cheltenham 47 (-16).

And the new boss says the side must finish top of what he’s labelled a mini-league.

“The shackles are off,” said the former Middlesbrough star.

“We are the ones doing the chasing now.

“You can’t polish the situation we are in – we are not in a great position.

“It’s a mini-league for us, three teams, we need to finish top of that.

“If we do, we could be safe, if we don’t we probably won’t be.”

Bates says he, Paynter, Parnaby and Gallagher will be keeping things low key and relaxed players and not weighing them down with too much talk.

“We are preparing well,” he explained.

“We are trying to keep things as simple as possible.

“We are a team, I might be fronting it up, but that’s what we are, we making decisions together.

“The chairman has asked us to do it because he wants a reaction from the team.

“We can only do so much as coaches, set them up, give them instructions, make sure they know what we need to do.

“But, ultimately, it’s now down to them

“There is no time for motivational talks, crisis meetings – we’ve had all that and it hasn’t worked.

“It’s up to us to set them up as best we can and then they go out and do it.

“The lads know how much it means to everyone, fans, staff and owners,”