Woods – Belief is back under caretaker Collins at Hartlepool

Goal scorers Michael Woods and Charlie Wyke celebrate Hartlepool's win at Exeter. Picture by Frank Reid
Goal scorers Michael Woods and Charlie Wyke celebrate Hartlepool's win at Exeter. Picture by Frank Reid

MICHAEL Woods insists belief has returned to the Hartlepool United squad under caretaker boss Sam Collins.

The 24-year-old has started both matches since Collins took charge and the new-look Pools side have been a breathe of fresh air from the stagnant side that started the season.

Woods says the players have reacted well to the caretaker’s new attacking philosophy and he is confident they can produce the goods again in the “massive” match against Luton Town tomorrow.

Colin Cooper brought the former Chelsea and Leeds United youth to the club in the summer and he said he will always be grateful to his former manager.

But he relishing the fresh challenge under Collins.

“It has been brilliant under Sam,” Woods told SportMail.

“You can see from the performances that Sam has the respect of the lads 100 per cent.

“The dressing room is tight and everybody is behind each other and one thing I realised when I came in here was how good the team spirit is, even when we were bottom of the league.

“There has been a lift of confidence and some belief has come back.

“We have been unlucky at times earlier in the season, conceding twos and threes in a short space of time and the games were being put to bed early on.

“We were never really giving ourselves a chance.”

Against Exeter City last weekend Pools took the lead, thanks to Woods’ first goal for the club before top scorer Charlie Wyke secured the win with his fourth of the season.

The 2-1 win lifted Pools from bottom of the Football League to 21st and Woods is confident Collins’ side can quickly further climb League Two.

Woods added: “This weekend is a massive game.

“In this league you can get three or four wins on the spin and jump eight or nine places.

“But it is no good winning last week if we don’t back that up with a win tomorrow.

“We have been working hard and Sam demands that of us every day and there is competition for places now and I am confident we can build some momentum.”

Scoring goals has been a problem for Pools all season, with just seven netted in League Two all campaign.

But new-look Pools are sporting an attacking and fluid 4-3-3 formation, with Ryan Brobbel and Lewis Hawkins supporting Wyke up front.

Woods, enjoying his role in midfield, has praised the attacking philosophy of the caretaker boss and insists this side will always create chances.

He added: “Sam’s philosophy is to try and play attacking football.

“With the young lads and the legs up top we will always create chances.

“Charlie [Wyke] is brilliant, he can mix it up, go in behind or he can come short to feet.

“He has been a man mountain for us in the last few games.”