Take a leaf out of Sam Collins book, Paul Murray tells Hartlepool United’s players

BIG SAM: Sam Collins in action against York City. Picture by FRANK REID
BIG SAM: Sam Collins in action against York City. Picture by FRANK REID

PAUL Murray has called on his younger players to take inspiration from the character shown by veteran Sam Collins.

The 37-year-old has been re-instated at centre- half since his former team-mate turned manager took charge at Hartlepool United.

Collins had been a steadying influence at the back for a struggling side but two mistakes against York City cost his side dear, allowing Keith Lowe to evade him twice from corner routines as York went on to win 3-1.

The player-coach was big enough to admit his mistakes but Murray has moved to praise Collins for the character he has shown.

Murray believes there are similarities between Collins, nearing the end of his professional career, and Scott Fenwick, who is just starting out, and labelled the pair a “dying breed”.

Pools certainly need more players to show the same character if the squad is to climb off the bottom of the Football League.

“Sam is a really honest type of character,” said Murray.

“They are the type of characters that I want and need in the side.

“The ones that aren’t yet that way inclined should take a leaf out of his book.

“Sam is one of them good charcters but he is getting on and we are looking for the younger players to step up to the mantle and for them to be the characters that we desire.

“That is what you have to have in the team, character,” added Murray, who was speaking before today’s Sky Bet League Two match with league leaders Wycombe Wanderers at Victoria Park (kick-off 3pm).

Collins’ place in the starting line-up could be under threat following the loan arrival of Matteo Lanzoni from Cambridge United until the end of December.

Matthew Bates and Neil Austin are also contesting for the centre-back positions under Murray, who said he had no qualms about bringing Collins back into the side when he took charge.

He added: “I brought Sam back in because of his character.

“Yes, he was at fault for a couple of goals against York but the younger lads look up to him.

“We have to try to get those qualities across and into their own games.”

Fenwick was recently signed from non-league Dunston UTS and scored on his full debut in last weekend’s defeat to the Minstermen.

Murray has been impressed with his impact in a blue and white shirt but also on the training ground at Maiden Castle, where he is putting in extra hours to get up to speed with the professional game.

“Scott is similar to Sam as well, to be fair,” added Murray.

“They are the ones that I am trying to breed and they are a dying breed.

“Scotty’s attitude is brilliant.

“I’ve seen that when I’ve watched him play.

“He’s working hard in the gym, he’s doing extra work, he’s training hard and he’s even an example to our professionals.

“They all work hard but he’s really got the bit between his teeth and he is determined to make a career in professional football.”

l VISIT Visit www.hartlepoolmail.co.uk for team news, a final whistle match report plus post-match reaction from today’s League Two match at home to Wycombe Wanderers.

For live updates throughout the match follow @RichMennearJP on Twitter.