Matthew Bates keen to break free of shackles of Craig Harrison’s Hartlepool United regime

Matthew Bates during the Ebbsfleet United match at Victoria Park. Picture Mark Fletcher/Shutter Press.
Matthew Bates during the Ebbsfleet United match at Victoria Park. Picture Mark Fletcher/Shutter Press.

Hartlepool United caretaker Matthew Bates is keen not to be tarred with the same brush as previous manager Craig Harrison.

While former Middlesbrough, Bradford and Bristol City defender respects the previous boss, he has moved to distance himself from any association with Harrison, insisting he’s his own man and manager.

“I respect Craig massively”, said Bates, whose side travel to Aldershot in the National League this weekend.

“We still speak to each other - he is a great fella.

“But the one thing I will do while I am here is do things my way, not the way of any other manager.”

The temporary appointment of Bates has failed to capture the imagination of many Poolies.

And Saturday’s abject 1-0 loss to Ebbsfleet United, which could have been a much wider margin, did little to improve his approval ratings in the town.

That does not dampen Bates’ want to do the job at Pools, and do it well.

He says he will call upon his extensive experience and contacts in the game to make sure this survival fight, is a whole lot more successful than last season’s failed battle to stay in the Football League.

“I have been involved in football for 20 years,” said Bates.

“I have played under good and bad managers in that time. But the one thing that I have done is make sure I have learned something from all of them.

“It is about applying that experience to the current situation.

“Hopefully we can get a reaction from the players at the weekend, having had more time with them on the training pitch.”

Meanwhile, on the fitness front Bates is expecting little help from the treatment room ahead of the trip South.

Michael Ledger is again set to miss out at the Electrical Services Stadium with an ankle problem, the latest in a long line of fitness problems for the Sunderland loanee.

Ryan Donaldson also remains out.

Liam Donnelly is the only player who has half a chance of a return, given the Northern Irishman was so close last weekend.