Winning is the only thing that matters to Hartlepool United boss Craig Harrison

Hartlepool United boss Craig Harrison.
Hartlepool United boss Craig Harrison.

Hartlepool United’s National League campaign is a case of substance over style for boss Craig Harrison.

And while he wants to wow the National League with an idealistic, free-flowing, attacking brand of football, when it comes to the fifth tier crunch, winning is all that matters to Harrison and Pools.

His side take on Sutton United this afternoon at Victoria Park, looking to close the gap on the pace-setters of the division and extend a run in which Pools have suffered just one loss in their last nine league games.

Harrison admits he is a winner at heart. And week by week, result by result his personality and approach is rubbing off on those who cross the white lines in blue and white.

“My personality is that I want to win under all circumstances, under all costs,” he said.

“As much as we want to play free-flowing football with 50 passes before a goal, for me it’s more important as a person to reflect my personality.

“We have scored late goals and turned games around. I’d like to think I’ve contributed to that.

“As a person, I’m modest but a strong individual.

“I’ve had, for a young man, a lot of adversity in my personal and football lives.

“Sometimes they say a team reflects the manager and over the last four or five weeks, I would see it as the biggest compliment to me – because as a person and a man – is that I’m honest. I tell it how it is and get on with it.

“I accept things and talk to people straight.

“I give all I’ve got every single day, the same with the staff here, and I’d like to think that that togetherness and attitude is rubbing off on others.”

Pools got off to a difficult start to life in the National League, failing to win any of their opening SIX encounters at this level.

But since then, they’ve looked like a team transformed.

Long gone are last season’s heartless showings, confidence floods through this side, so too belief and spirit.

A lot of the recent upturn in fortunes, according to Harrison, is down to that, plus one key factor.

“It is important you are organised,” he said.

“It is a massive thing for me that people know their roles individually and as a unit.

“It is underestimated for me - it doesn’t matter how good you are as an individual, if someone does fit in, then it is no good to anyone.

“It is at the top of the tick list for me.

“You’d be surprised how many managers in football don’t do the organisational side of the game.

“I think it is the bare minimum. It is something you can control.

“You can’t make a player move from average to world beater - it is impossible.

“But what you can do is make him know his roles and responsibilities.

“A good coach can the best out of people by doing that.”