Pools boss John Hughes senses unity in bid to escape relegation

Peter Hartley scores the winning goal against Notts County. Picture by FRANK REID
Peter Hartley scores the winning goal against Notts County. Picture by FRANK REID

JOHN Hughes believes everyone at Hartlepool United is now pulling in the same direction in their bid for League One survival.

The Scot celebrated his first home win in the Victoria Park dugout on Saturday as Pools enjoyed a 2-1 victory over Notts County – a result which cost Magpies manager Keith Curle and first-team coach and former Poolie Colin West their jobs after they were dismissed by the club yesterday.

It was their first on home soil in 13 attempts and narrowed the gap to safety to eight points, that margin having been as high as 15 before Christmas.

And Hughes told SportMail: “On Saturday I sensed a unity in supporters and players and a willingness to get us over the line.

“The fans were behind us and whistling for the end to come, we were all in it together.

“They are with us and they’ll have to be between now and the end of the season.

“They could see the players worked their tails off and played some good stuff going forward.

“Now our aim is simple – not to get beat between now and the end of the season.

“I’m a believer in that if you keep saying it enough the boys will keep believing it, we won’t get too carried away but our target is the 16 cup finals.”

Hughes had previously suffered five straight defeats in front of the club’s supporters.

And he admits that run had not sat easy with himself.

“I have to say it’s nice for me personally to get a home win,” he continued.

“That run of defeats wasn’t good enough.

“Now you can see we can win home games.

“But I had a good feeling about this one.

“It was so important to get that monkey off our back and get a first home win, turn this into a fortress.

“This isn’t going to be easy, we are where we are for a reason, but there’s no point in shying away from it anymore.

“I said to the boys go and enjoy this win and the feeling and walk about with some pride from it.

“We inspired the supporters because we hounded the opposition and got right in their faces, fans like that.

“They got right behind us as a result and it’s got to be like that.”