Pools boss John Hughes not interested in manager of month award

John Hughes in the dugout against Leyton Orient. Picture by FRANK REID
John Hughes in the dugout against Leyton Orient. Picture by FRANK REID

HARTLEPOOL United boss John Hughes refuses to entertain talk of him being crowned manger of the month.

Pools take on Crewe Alexandra at Victoria Park tonight (kick-off 7.45pm) in their final outing for February with a record which reads played five, won three and drawn two.

Another victory this evening would make Hughes the hot favourite for the League One monthly prize, but the Scot isn’t interested in such reward.

“Don’t talk about manager of the month – I’ve had it before and it’s a kiss of death,” Hughes told SportMail ahead of the meeting with the 11th-placed Railwaymen.

“We’ve got to be careful with expectations and take each game as it comes, that’s served us well so far.

“Crewe are a good team and they’re above us in the league for a reason.

“They might be better than us but it’s not always the best team which wins a football match.

“We have the confidence and momentum right now.

“The next six weeks are Saturday-Tuesday matches – but that’s brilliant, bring it on.

“As a footballer you’ll get nothing better, especially when you’re playing at the top of your game – you’re in the zone.

“We’ve got that winning feeling now.”

Hughes – whose side are eight points from safety – could consider changes from the team which won 2-1 at fifth-bottom Scunthorpe United on Saturday.

Andy Monkhouse will again be vying for a recall, while Steve Howard is on standby should Charlie Wyke fail to recover from the bug which forced him off in the second half at the weekend.

“There is real competition for places at the moment,” Hughes went on.

“Even up to the morning of the game at the weekend I was thinking about playing Monks because I thought he did exceptionally well when he came on the previous week.

“For us to have the best chance possible of staying up then we’ll need everyone fit and everyone playing a part.

“At the moment they are all up for it and long may that be the case.

“We can only look after ourselves and we have to keep our feet on the ground.”

Meanwhile, Pools reserves travel to Chesterfield tomorrow afternoon (kick-off 2pm).

POOLS (probable team to face Crewe): Flinders; Austin, Hartley, Collins, Horwood; Baldwin, Walton, Humphreys; Poole, Franks, Wyke. Subs: McHugh, James, Howard, Rutherford, Holden, Monkhouse, Luscombe