Michael Nelson reveals what prepared him for Hartlepool United role alongside Graeme Lee

Hartlepool United assistant manager Michael Nelson believes both he and manager Graeme Lee need to continue to build relationships with their squad of players.

By Joe Ramage
Wednesday, 15th December 2021, 4:45 pm

Lee and Nelson have been in place at the Suit Direct Stadium for a fortnight now and have overseen four games across three competitions in that time with Pools unbeaten under their reign so far.

Lee and Nelson have guided Pools into the next round of both the Papa John’s Trophy and the FA Cup as well as taking four points from six in League Two ahead of Saturday’s trip to Colchester United.

Both Lee and Nelson know what it takes to churn out positive results and performances for Pools having featured for the club over 550 times between them throughout their playing careers before returning to the Suit Direct Stadium earlier this month.

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Michael Nelson has had plenty of experience ahead of his return to Hartlepool United. Picture by FRANK REID

But Nelson admits the pair are still keen to create a positive harmony amongst the squad as they continue to find their feet back in familiar surroundings.

“It’ll depend on what the situation is. There’ll be certain players Graeme connects with better than I do, and vice versa and Tony Sweeney as well.

“It’s about building relationships with those players, so I might be able to go and speak to one player differently to how Graeme can,” Nelson explains to The Mail.

“It’s about targeting the group as a whole with the whole staff and network that we’ve got and the more that we can do that then the more we’ll get out of the players and get them to pull together and hopefully have a tight knit group and have success.”

Michael Nelson joined Graeme Lee as part of the new management team at Hartlepool United. (Credit: Mark Fletcher | MI News)

While Lee is entering the dugout for the first time as a manager in first team football, Nelson has gained number of experiences during his post-playing career both as a coach on the training ground and as an assistant in the dugout.

The 41-year-old has had spells with Chesterfield, Stevenage and Barnet in the Football League as well as with Gateshead and Blyth Spartans in non-league.

Nelson spent 18 months in charge of National League North Spartans before leaving the role last month.

But the Pools fan favourite believes it will be his experiences elsewhere as a coach that have prepared him for life back at the Suit Direct Stadium.

“It’s completely different because some weeks I’d only get two hours a week preparing for a game because you play on a Saturday and you play on a Tuesday, so you get them for two hours on a Thursday and then you play again on a Saturday.

“So you can’t compare having that contact time with a group of players to having them Monday to Friday, having all the equipment in terms of the GPS, being able to sit them in front of a screen and show them in detail what you want with videos and analysis.

“So in terms of preparing me for this I don’t think it’s had a major impact on me.

“I’d say more so being a player-first team coach at Gateshead, a player-first team coach at Chesterfield, assistant manager at Stevenage, assistant manager at Barnet is my preparation, plus over 700 games in League Two or above and not finishing playing until I was 39. That’s where my preparation comes from.”

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