Matthew Bates admits it was strange calling on his first ever coach, Ged McNamee, for help at Hartlepool United.
But at least caretaker Bates now knows he has an immensely skilled operator standing shoulder-to-shoulder with him in the Pools dugout, having been forced to go it alone last weekend.
Bates was coached by McNamee while he was at Manchester United’s centre of excellence in Birtley from the age of nine.
And now things have gone full circle, the former Middlesbrough defender will not be taking orders from McNamee, instead it will be the ex-Sunderland academy manager working under Bates.
“It is funny how things work out in football,” said Bates.
“Ged was my first ever coach when I was at Manchester United and he is now working alongside me.
“He brings a wealth of experience to the job and has been a big help in the build up to this game.”
McNamee has not been the only new face on the training pitches this week at Pools, with Champions League winning goalkeeper Ross Turnbull working with the club’s two goalkeepers – Scott Loach and Ryan Catterick.
And Bates, who has known Turnbull since his days as a player at the Riverside Stadium, can already see his new coach, who like McNamee is working on an unpaid, voluntary basis, having a positive impact.
“Ross has also been in two days”, Bates said of the former Chelsea and Middlesbrough keeper.
“He has been doing some scouting and a little bit of coaching since he ended playing, but is not sure what he wants to do next in the game.
“For him this is the perfect bit of experience and for me it is great to have someone who has worked under some of the best managers on the planet to bounce ideas off.
“Loachy and Ryan have enjoyed the training he has put on for them this week.”