HARTLEPOOL United admit they are “scared” of relegation to League Two – but insist there is no pressure on John Hughes to avoid the drop.
That is the message from chief executive Russ Green with Pools currently in grave danger of losing their third-tier status for the first time in six seasons.
Hughes last month inherited a situation with Pools nine points adrift of safety, a gap which has widened to 10 following a run of three without victory under the new man.
But Green says the remit for the Scot is, in the short term, simply to restore confidence in a squad which has been shorn of belief throughout the campaign.
And, on the subject of relegation, the Pools chief told SportMail: “Every club in League One is scared of it and wary of it because of the lack of funding which comes from the central pot in the Football League.
“But we’ve done it once before and we can do it again.
“God forbid we do go down, we’ve hopefully got a guy in charge who can bring us straight back.
“We don’t want to be swapping and changing managers – there is no remit for John that he has to keep us up.
“His job is to get the confidence back among the players and get the mentality right.
“We all know that has been lacking this season and I know he’ll instil that.”
Pools, like the majority of clubs in League One, are now working within the confines of a salary cap which sets at 65 per cent the amount of turnover which can be spent on wages.
That being the case, Green says that Hughes is well aware of the current policy on incomings at Victoria Park.
“He knows the budget and we’re all working within that salary cap now,” he went on.
“Some clubs are bending the rules a little bit, but this is the business model which will turn football around financially.
“It’s not nice having to tell a manager that you can’t bring a loan player in because we’ll go above the 65 per cent, but you can’t give a manager free rein otherwise then you’ll end up with an embargo.
“John knows the tools in the box and he’s got to get those to work for us.”