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Matthew Bates has this message after impressive start to managerial career at Hartlepool United

Matthew Bates
Matthew Bates

Twenty-eight games into his Hartlepool United career, Matthew Bates has tasted defeat just six times.

Two of those came in his first week in the dugout.

He’s been at the coalface during the fight for the club to stay alive, masterminded a drive away from the National League relegation mire last season, and is orchestrating a promotion push this.

When the statistics are presented to Bates he is oblivious, and pleasantly surprised all the same.

If there’s one thing being a manager has taught the former Middlesbrough defender, who only hung up his boots in the summer, it’s that there’s no time to reflect on past achievements, as the next challenge is always ready and waiting.

“It is not exactly a milestone to celebrate but I am happy with the start,” he said.

“I never look at the stats but I know they are good.

“It is nice but you never know what is around the corner with management.

“One week you can win, the next you can lose. The games come thick and fast so you get little time to reflect on these things.

“You have to keep your feet on the ground and keep going forward.

“If the stats are as good at the end of the season you can all pat me on the back. Until then the hard work goes on.”

“We just go game-to-game and keep the standards high.”

Meanwhile, Bates’ men head to Brisbane Road to take on Leyton Orient today, who sit second in the National League table, five points ahead of Pools as the two sides push for a return to League Two.

Bates hopes his players can thrive in front of a big crowd, at what is a Football League ground in all but name.

“We look forward to it,” he said.

“It is the type of game you want to play in as a player – I am looking forward to it as a manager.

“We need to deal with the added pressure of the big crowd and big occasion. I am sure the players will do that.”