Matthew Bates has the right men next to him at Hartlepool United

Billy Paynter
Billy Paynter

Matthew Bates has every faith in the team he will send out at Cheltenham Town – and every faith in his management group.

Chairman Gary Coxall has chosen a ‘gang of four’ to inspire a great escape from the Football League’s relegation zone.

Billy is champing at the bit ... this has given him a new lease of life


Defender Bates is the front man, with club captain Billy Paynter, conditioning coach Stuart Parnaby and head physio Ian Gallagher alongside him.

The quartet will be key figures as they try to raise the spirits and confidence of a team shattered by the events of Saturday when the club slipped into League Two’s bottom two.

The exit of Dave Jones has given Pools a chance and Bates feels Coxall has got the make-up of the temporary management team spot on.

He identifies Paynter as a vital character for the match at Cheltenham Town this Saturday.

The 32-year-old had hoped to get back on the field this season only to concede defeat to an Achilles problem, having surgery on his left leg.

“Billy is champing at the bit,” said Bates. “He hasn’t been able to play, so he really wants to help.

“This has given him a new lease of life. He can’t help on the field because of his operation but he can now help out on this side.

“Billy is a character, the lads like him and have taken to him.”

The inclusion of Gallagher may have raised an eyebrow or three, but not to Bates.

Gallagher, a player for Pools in the mid-90s, is close to the players, a factor the former Middlesbrough defender sees as crucial to the cause in the last two games of the season.

“The chairman has a huge respect for him, rightly so for his service at the club and how much it means to him,” said Bates.

“It’s good for the lads to se how much the club means to him and so many people.

“He has a huge respect from the players.”

Bates said that he has not sought any advice from his former bosses, though says he’ll takes something from all he’s learned from the managers and coaches he has worked under.

“Every one of them, from Steve McClaren onwards,” he said..

“You try to take bits from every one of them.

“Have I spoken to any of them? I’ve not had the time!

“I’ve not spoken to anyone, there’s no time, I just need to crack on, do what we need to do for the next two games then go from there.”