Michael Woods reveals why Hartlepool are better off with Matthew Bates

Michael Woods in action against Bromley.
Michael Woods in action against Bromley.

After one month in charge, Pools’ Michael Woods believes Matthew Bates’ introduction as caretaker manager has given the whole club a huge lift.

Woods’ match-winner against Bromley moved Pools five points clear of the relegation zone and he praised Bates’ brief but strong run in the role which has given the squad belief to survive the drop.

Woods said: “Bates has not over complicated things and went back to basics. I think we are more organised and working much harder for each other and it has been a huge lift.

“I know it has only been three or four games but there is a belief that we can get something from every game we’ve played.

“There is such a fine line in the league and anything can happen. Hopefully we’ve got of bit of momentum which can be a sucker punch for those below us in the table.

“There is now a feel good factor around the place at the minute and it is such a better feeling.”

Woods insists the caretaker boss is still keeping the squad’s feet firmly on the ground after extending their unbeaten run to four games.

Woods said: “The league table is still tight and the message from Bates is to have no complacency.

“We have two quick games on Friday and Monday and if we can keep performing at this level then we should be out of trouble.

“It is working for us and, no matter what anyone tells you, you can play as well as you like but if you aren’t getting results then confidence is rock bottom. Thankfully, we have had a turn around and a lift although the work is not done quite yet.”

Woods was surprised that Pools were not comfortably leading at the break after a solid first-half performance.

He added: “I thought we started the game really well.

“Bates’ message was to get at Bromley from the off and we started brightly and deservedly got the goal from Hawkes which delighted everyone after seeing him get his chance.

“It was a real sucker punch the way they scored just before half-time as we the better team by miles and if we had went 2-0 or 3-0 up at the break it would have been a fair reflection.

“We went into the dressing room flat as we knew we had played quite well and knocked it around well at times. We felt during the game the only way Bromley could score was from a set-piece.

“Bates has come in and lifted us and said if we keep doing what we were doing and we could get the rewards.”

Woods admitted his thumping strike was not something he had worked on in training.

“To be honest, I just tried to smash the ball as hard as I could without picking a spot. Credit to Devante (Rodney) with a great cushioned header. I was delighted to see the strike hit the back of the net.

“We saw the game out quite well which we’ve been criticised for in the past and Loach has had one of his most quiet games.”

Although Woods felt relieved to hear the takeover was almost complete, he claimed that there were no distractions for the players before the league tie.

“Our job is to play football and concentrate on getting results. There was no talk about it between the lads all day and just wanted to go onto the pitch and put in a good performance.

“It will be a burden lifted for everyone associated with the club. You get paid to do a job and no matter what is going on there is a pride at stake.

“Whether you’re playing 5-a-side with your mates or playing against Bromley you want to get the better of the opposition and win.”