Raj Singh admits relegation fears contributed to Matthew Bates sacking as the Hartlepool United owner hints at timeframe for successor appointment

Pools' chairman Raj Singh.
Pools' chairman Raj Singh.

The fear of relegation to the National League North contributed to the decision to sack Matthew Bates, according to Hartlepool United chairman Raj Singh.

Singh says there were fears within the directors' box that Pools were "sleepwalking into a relegation fight" having lost six National league games on the bounce before Bates got the boot on Wednesday.

Discussing the departure, Singh, in his Blueprint programme notes, said: "I don't think there is ever a perfect time to make a decision to change your manager.

"Do you persevere and wait a little longer and hope things will turn with the potential for more damage to be done? It's a very situation and there is no right answer.

"We gave Matty all the support we could and that's something he has commented on in the past. We tried to give him as long as possible but, in the end, when you've picked up five points from the last available 30 something has to give.

"We had a meeting with Matty on Wednesday when everything was discussed openly and honestly. After all of the conversations, the board took the decision that we had to make a change, otherwise - as one director commented - we could be sleepwalking into a relegation fight."

Meanwhile, the owner has hinted at a timeframe for the appointment of Bates' successor.

Craig Hignett oversaw Pools' 2-1 home defeat to Dagenham on Saturday, but Singh is hopeful things can progress on the managerial front at pace this week.

He said: "We have already had plenty of candidates apply for the role but I think it's important we take our time and not rush into any decisions.

"Whilst we won't rush, we don't want to look to make an appointment as soon as possible, so we will go through the process and make sure that we get the right man in place."