Paul Jenkins absence means Matthew Bates will go it alone in Hartlepool United dugout

Matthew Bates
Matthew Bates

Caretaker boss Matthew Bates will go it alone in the Hartlepool United dugout against Ebbsfleet tomorrow.

Bates will be unassisted for the crucial National League encounter after fellow coach Paul Jenkins has had to take time away from Victoria Park with a personal issue.

Many were surprised when Craig Harrison's assistant Jenkins was not handed the temporary reins following the departure of Harrison earlier this week.

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Instead, it was decided by exiting head of football operations Paul Watson and chief executive Pam Duxbury that Bates would be best suited for the role, having stepped in so ably at the back end of last season's ill-fated campaign.

The duo met with first team coach Bates on Wednesday and he officially oversaw training for the first time at the back end of this week ahead of the visit of the Kent outfit to the Vic tomorrow.

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Confirming the news of Jenkins, Bates, at his pre-match presser, said: "We have gone from three members of staff splitting the role up to one. It has been difficult but it is a learning curve for me.

"He [Jenkins] has taken some personal leave, he has some problems at home with his family so he has taken some time. I have spoken to him yesterday and he is right behind me and right behind the club."

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When asked by the Mail whether he'd have an assistant on Saturday, Bates joked: "Would you like to come and sit next to me?

"It is fine for this weekend. I still have all of the backroom staff around me.

"I can crack on but I am going to need someone in place for next week."