Matthew Bates reveals key message to his Hartlepool squad - and National League rivals

Matthew Bates.

­Matthew Bates still does not believe we have seen the best of his Hartlepool United side.

Pools ran out 1-0 winners at fellow early season high-flyers Solihull Moors on Saturday to climb to fourth in the National League table.

That run has seen them lose just once - to Ebbsfleet United on August 11 - win five and draw four since the summer.

And despite all of the positives to come from the first month of the fifth tier campaign, Bates still does not think Pools have been at their very best.

He thinks there is still room for improvement - which can be no bad thing.

“I still don’t think we have seen the best of this team,” said the former Middlesbrough defender.

“We saw the best at Braintree and in spells in games. We have seen it but not for 90 minutes.

“It is still a new side with a new system and new players. And to be honest I could not be happier with the way things are going at the moment.

“I still think there is more to come.”

At the start of the season Bates stated that he would not look at the league standings until after 10 games.

Now that we’re 10 games in, his approach has changed.

The manager is not really interested in where Pools sit, although he’s happy they’re closer to the top than the bottom, unlike last season.

Instead he is only intent on accumulating as many points as possible in the short term as he knows positions in the table will then take care of themselves.

“We keeping building and we keep going,” he said after the Liam Noble and Nicky Featherstone inspired win down in the Midlands at the weekend.

“Another great performance from the lads.

“We keeping looking at getting the points on the board. I am not interested in where we are in the league. It’s all about getting the points and the league will take care of itself.”

Whether it has been changes in the system or tweaks here and there, Pools’ players have been more than open to adjustments so far this season.

Bates says it is down to the football intelligence in the group.

“We are an intelligent group. I said that to the lads,” said Bates.

“Any changes we have made they have taken to them straight away.

“When we are 1-0 we showed we can say to the opposition ‘you come to us’.

“I can think on any number of occasions we had spells of 15 to 20 passes from back to front, which was intelligent, patient stuff.

“I thought we were magnificent on Saturday.”

Pools are expected to have Luke Williams available for selection this weekend when struggling Eastleigh come to the Super 6 Stadium.

Andrew Davies is still likely to be missing, but has a chance of making the double header against fellow promotion-chasing Halifax Town and Salford City.

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