Matthew Bates is too good not to manage again after Hartlepool sacking - Craig Hignett

Matthew Bates
Matthew Bates

Matthew Bates has a future as manager despite his Hartlepool United sacking – that’s the view of Craig Hignett.

The Pools caretaker – who managed Bates as a player and worked with him as director of football – is certain the former Middlesbrough defender can be a success in the dugout.

Hignett has stepped into the breach after the news of Bates’ departure broke following a six-game losing run in the National League.

And he’s sure the man he’s replaced is too skilled not to come again in the coaching world, especially as Bates is still just 31 years old.

“He is a young fella who has loads of experience from the things he has done over the last two years. He definitely has a future in the game,” said Hignett.

“You have to be a certain type to do this job and Matthew is that.

“He will be stronger because of this. He might not think it now, but he will.”

Bates was in charge for 37 games, first in a caretaker capacity at the end of last season when he took charge of the team after Craig Harrison’s sacking.

Amid financial turmoil and a takeover by Raj Singh, Bates helped guide Pools away from the relegation zone in the National League to earn the job on a permanent basis.

However, after a run of six successive league defeats following a promising start, Singh decided to relieve him of his duties.

Hignett admits the sacking came out of the blue and was in no way premeditated.

“I have sympathy for Matthew as I have been through it. I am gutted for him,” said Hignett, who lost his job as Pools boss in January 2017.

“This was not planned. It just happened in a meeting.

“I don’t want to be that man who sacks managers – just look at Dario Gradi at Crewe. He could have been sacked 20 times.

“In the end he built something that was sustainable and was worth sticking with.

“I have been on the other end of this and I have sympathy.”

Meanwhile, caretaker Hignett believes the subtle changes made by himself and coaches Ged McNamee and Ross Turnbull can make a difference, with Dagenham at the Super 6 Stadium today.

While the playing staff remains the same, Hignett hopes a few tweaks can restore the self belief to the squad.

“You are going to be lacking in confidence the run that they are on, but it is how you get out of it – the things you do to try and lift it,” said Hignett.

“It is no good cracking on as normal, things won’t change.

“It is hard to change in two days but we will be doing what we can to ready them for Saturday to go and prove a point.

“One or two in there will feel like they have let a manager down.

“My message would be – you have a game, go run about like a nutter and get a result.”