Coach Sam Collins is certain the future is bright for Hartlepool United.
The town and the club are buzzing after Pools appointed Dave Jones to the top job at the Vic, then followed that up by cruising to a comfortable 2-0 win over Stevenage at the weekend.
There will be changes at the club. Exciting times lie ahead
And it is times like this that make Collins regret ever hanging up his boots for good.
The Under-21 boss, who took caretaker control of the first-team at the weekend, says that Jones is just the type of manager he’d have thrived on playing for. And that can only be good for Pools moving forward.
He said: “I’ve played against his teams a few times, and spoke to a few lads who know the gaffer really well. Speaking to him over the last few days I know if he was my gaffer I would like to play for him – I really would.
“He’s my type of manager in terms of what he wants and demands. Do what he wants and you will be alright.
“He comes here with a pedigree and the level he has played and managed at means he had plenty of experience and contacts and the club will benefit from it.”
Collins might not be able to play for Jones, but he is certainly keen to soak up as much of the 60-year-old’s coaching advice.
“I spent an afternoon with him on Friday, we travelled back from the training ground together and sat in his office and he was very open in talking about ideas and philosophies he has built up from over 20 years,” he said.
“There’s no way I’m naïve enough to think I’ve got all the answers and know it all, I’m still young in coaching terms.
“For me to have someone like that here is fantastic.
“He has been at a higher level and I see he is a winner. There’s different ways to win, listening to him if all the players don’t have that mentality they won’t be here long, which is how it should be.
“We can plan things and think we have done well all week, but it means nothing if it doesn’t happen on a Saturday.
“We all saw on Saturday we played a bit different, we pressed better and played better without the ball and that’s why I wanted to get young players into the team with energy and legs.
“Put players in this league under pressure and they make mistakes and we created a lot more chances than of late I felt.”
Collins made a number of changes to the side at the weekend – most notably drafting in Rhys Oates and Brad Walker to the starting XI.
But he predicts that will only be the start of things to come at the club under the guidance of former Premier League boss Jones.
“There will be changes at the club, I’ve spoke to the gaffer and his staff and I’m looking forward to it a lot. Exciting times are ahead for the club.
“There’s different factors why we did well, I know the players, I knew what I wanted to do and we will always get a reaction to that.”
One of the biggest positives of the weekend was the return to action of Nathan Thomas.
Out since October with a groin problem which required corrective surgery. Collins threw the wideman on for the final five minutes of the 2-0 win over Stevenage.
“Nathan came back and it was Thursday when I first thought he could be ready,” revealed the caretaker.
“He joined in halfway through the session and joined in with some combination play, crossing and finishing and I asked the physio if he was ready. He said no, but I said he looked ready to me.
“We had a few conversations and I told the gaffer I felt he was ready and we left it as long as possible to get him on. Nathan being Nathan wanted to be on after five minutes.
“It’s a massive positive to have him back and it was good to bring him on when we were winning rather than chasing the game. He came on and won a free kick as he was fouled straight away.
“On his day no-one in this league can live with him.”