Sign players? We’ve had what Hartlepool needed right under our noses - Sam Collins

Brad Walker celebrates his goal
Brad Walker celebrates his goal

Hartlepool United caretaker boss Sam Collins has questioned whether the club needs to dip into the market for a new striker and midfielder.

The Pools Under-21 boss believes in Rhys Oates and Brad Walker they might just have the answer to their problems - right under their noses all along.

I always wanted them to be involved

“Do we need to sign players? We have given players a chance and showed belief in them. And it worked,” said Collins, who will now step back to allow Dave Jones and his coaching team to take the reins.

“All it has taken is to put an arm around them and show them they are valued and part of things. Some are only young and there’s some really talented players here who I have spent a lot time with to get the best out of them.

“I always wanted them to be involved.”

For Walker, it has been a difficult 12 months or so at Pools.

He seemed to be a lad with the world at his feet at one point, now he is fighting to restablish himself as a first-team player, although his talent is in no doubt.

Oates is still really trying to prove he can do a job, week-in, week-out in the starting XI.

While both were impressive in the weekend win over Stevenage, the hard work has only just begun for them, according to Collins.

He says the big task is to make sure their performance was no one-off.

Collins believes their time to shine is now.

He continued: “I spoke to them after the game and I thanked them on my own. I said it’s one game, one appearance and now they have to kick on and impress the new manager.

“I’ve changed as a person and a coach and I’ve learned to be patient with players and that’s what I’ve done with the two lads who started the game.

“As time went on, I felt I was getting more out of them – and Brad more than Rhys. I thought he was outstanding.”

Collins signs off from Pools duty with a 100% record, in what was his fourth time as a caretaker at the club.

While he was delighted to do so, he is a man with the club’s best interests at heart.

“I’ve had one game and won it so I’m pleased,” he said.

“But I’ve said all along it’s not about me, it’s about the team doing well. What the lads did, all of them, was really good.

“I always had a good feeling all week that we would win this.”