Matthew Bates discusses his relationship with Hartlepool United director of football Craig Hignett

Hartlepool's dream team: Back: Raj Singh, Craig Hignett. Front: Ged McNamee, Matthew Bates and Ross Turnbull.
Hartlepool's dream team: Back: Raj Singh, Craig Hignett. Front: Ged McNamee, Matthew Bates and Ross Turnbull.

Hartlepool United boss Matthew Bates admits he is leaning on former manager Craig Hignett for advice in his first full summer as a No 1.

Hignett and Bates currently share an office at Victoria Park, and are working hand-in-hand on every bit of transfer business conducted this summer.

And while some might think the 31-year-old could be intimidated by the presence of a former manager so close, Bates says it is the exact opposite.

When asked whether he asks Hignett for his jewels of knowledge or advice, the ex-Middlesbrough defender said: “I do.

“Me and Craig share an office so there are situations where I will ask his opinion on things or for some advice.

“It’s great. I am not someone who is arrogant and thinks they have cracked it.

“I still have a lot to learn.

“I might ask someone’s advice and not agree with it then not take it on board.

“Sometimes I will get advice other times I will stick with what I believe in.

“It is still a learning curve for me.”

Despite a lack of pressure from above for results, in the short term, at least, Bates knows he must get off to a positive start next season.

Promotion is not seen as a must by those in the halls of power, but an expectant fanbase are definitely hoping for progress from the 15th place and National League relegation battle that ensued last time out.

As well as leaning on Hignett for help, Bates is also calling on favours from those he worked under as a player, which include the likes of ex-England and Newcastle United boss Steve McClaren.

“You try and take the good the bad and the ugly from every manager you have worked with,” he said.

“Then from that you build your own profile as a manager.

“But I do ask ex managers for advice, there is nothing wrong with that. I think it’s a good trait to have.”

Bates is part of a new breed of managers coming up in the game, and at 31 he is one of the youngest managers in the top five divisions in England. Although, he remains Pools second youngest manager after the late, great Brian Clough.

“The modern game is changing - new formations, new styles - you see how clubs are looking to recruit young managers because of that,” said Bates, who made his first signing last week, securing Myles Anderson on a free transfer.

“I think that is the way forward and it is my job to prove it is.

“I have just come out of playing and I am honest with the players whether they like it or not.

“I have always said that, as a player, you can see through a manager who lies to you.

“I think it helps in that way as I think I know how to speak to players.

“There will be bumps and bruises, mistakes along the way, but I hope to do well.”