JOHN Hughes is searching for an “Ian Poulter” from within his dressing room in a bid to claw Hartlepool United clear from the foot of League One.
The Scot, whose side were beaten 3-0 at Carlisle United yesterday to remain 14 points from safety, admits that relegation appears an inevitability at present.
But Hughes wants leaders to emerge from within his group going in to the new year, and he uses the example of Europe’s Ryder Cup hero as inspiration.
“I watched wee bits of television over Christmas and the one thing that came to mind was the Ryder Cup and the performance of Ian Poulter,” said Hughes.
“How he led from the front and how it inspired the other players to claw their game back - that’s what we have to do.
“Who is going to be our Ian Poulter?
“Who is going to lead from the front?
“Who is going to inspire others?
“And I do think we’ve got the characters in that dressing room to do that.”
And Hughes says that he, as a player, would revel in the current situation.
“There’s no point in trying to talk around it – we are where we are and the way we’re going we are going to get relegated,” he went on, his record since coming to Pools in November now reading played six, lost five, drawn one.
“Let’s take that on the chin, put it on the back burner and do something about it.
“Me, individually as a character, I would love the position we’re in right now.
“Everybody is laughing at us and we’re the whipping boys down the bottom of the league.
“I would love that – I’d roll my sleeves up and say ‘bring it on’.
“I’d grab the guy next to me and say ‘if we’re going down we’re going to go down fighting’.
“I would enjoy doing it because we have nothing to lose.
“Will we win every game between now and the end of the season? I very much doubt it.
“But they need to show the people of Hartlepool that they are right in there battling.”