Matthew Bates sets Hartlepool United target ahead of crucial National League fixtures

Matthew Bates is targeting a run of home wins.
Matthew Bates is targeting a run of home wins.

Hartlepool United boss Matthew Bates knows his team have to score more goals to keep pace at the top of the National League.

But the manager is relaxed about the 13 goals his team have racked up in their 11 fifth tier games to date.

Pools have impressed this season with their slick, passing brand of football but despite winning many admirers they’ve not won as many points, or scored as many goals at Bates would have liked.

He knows that Pools must improve in this area in the future, starting with tough trips to fellow promotion Halifax Town and Salford City.

Although, he is not overly concerned as he knows his team will continue to improve, at home and away.

“We have score 13 goals in 11 games and we know that we want more than that,” said Bates.

“Do we want to score more? Of course we do. But we are still creating.

“There isn’t really a difference. We are creating chances home and away, we are just not knocking the ball in the back of the net.

“It’s all the same. The field is the same size, the goals are the same size, that’s the way it works.

“Home or away we need to take more chances.”

While, in the main, things are looking good on the field, they’re also working like clockwork off it.

Bates has revealed the impact former Sunderland academy manager Ged McNamee is having behind the scenes as Pools mount their promotion push.

“Ged is great. We are different characters,” revealed Bates.

“He is a really relaxed character whereas I am not on the sidelines.

“He has been in dressing rooms for more than 20 years - he has seen it all and done it, whether that be at academy level and up to the first team.

“He is a character that everyone loves. Even when he is having a go at players he is a figure that everyone respects.

“He is not one to rant and rave he is just pure football. He is from the old, old school. All he wants to do is get the ball out and play football.

“A laid back character who knows his stuff, he helps me along with the sessions, the planning and that’s what he is there for. He is a calming influence around the place.”

Bates knows there are few better coaches to have around the place, especially not with the level of knowledge and expertise McNamee possesses.

“You can see in him the understanding of the man management side of things,” he said.

“He has had to deal with stroppy teenagers for 20 years so he knows how to deal with players at any age group.

“He demands respect from how he acts, his mannerisms, how he conducts himself. We are all learning a lot from him.

“He was my first coach at the Manchester United centre for excellence when I was in the last year of primary school, first year of secondary.

“I ended up moving to Middlesbrough from there and he tried to sign me for Sunderland. I didn’t do it and he still winds me up about it now.”