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Pools seeking a lift from the new boss
CHAIRMAN Ken Hodcroft will today engineer a second round of interviews with the candidates shortlisted for the Hartlepool United manager's job.
As well as Phil Brown, Craig Short and Colin Cooper, John Hughes is also in the frame.
He is currently manager of Scottish first division Livingston and is understood to have impressed when he first met Hodcroft last week.
Livingston is his third managerial post, after spells at Falkirk and Hibernian and the ex-Celtic defender is keen on managing in England.
Hughes was also in contention at Victoria Park last December when Pools were seeking a replacement for Mick Wadsworth.
But Phil Brown remains favourite and the most likely to lead Pools into back-to-back home games with Coventry and Oldham.
Micky Barron oversaw his fourth and final game as caretaker boss at the weekend, Pools making it 15 games without a win as they lost at Yeovil.
Victories for Bury and Scunthorpe leave Pools 11 points from the safety line in League One, but Barron insists whoever takes over will be inheriting a squad that remains of the belief they can avoid the drop.
With only eight points and one win to their name so far, Pools need about another 45 from their 29 remaining games.
It's some task, but Barron said: "All I can do is carry on, I don't know the situation. I will wait and if I'm told to take training on Monday I will, if it's until Wednesday I will.
"The good thing is that the group is still together. Me, someone else, whoever, I think they take a group determined to get out of the situation.
"I enjoyed the experience again this week, second half especially when they do what you ask. I was worried at times in the first-half, but this performance can be a platform for that not to happen again.''
Pools were positive in the second period and left Yeovil worried. But promise and a decent 45 minutes isn't enough right now.
They need a 90 minute winning performance and that is proving too much.
For the first-half, Pools were disappointing in a flat 45 minutes.
They fell behind 1-0 after only seven minutes. Left winger Sam Foley got into the space where right-back Jordan Richards should have been and was allowed to cross for Joe Edwards to poke in.
With confidence so fragile and Pools able to collapse after conceding, the goal didn't bode well.
Yet while Yeovil pressed Pools and closed them down quickly, they didn't really test Pools defence.
And, as the game went on with Pools seeking what was a likely second-half equaliser, Pools were firm defensively at the back.
Sam Collins was strong and read defensive situations well to give Pools some welcome and much-needed rearguard strength.
It's at the other end where they were lacking.
Antony Sweeney had their clearest chance. Steve Howard nodded down for the midfielder and he planted his header straight at home goalkeeper Marek Stech.
He then burst into the area from deep to latch onto Howard's dummy only for covering defender Bryton Antony to tackle.
Antony was partnered at the back by Dan Burn, the ex-Darlington centre-half on loan at Huish Park from Fulham and while he might not be the most aesthetically pleasing, he did a competent job.
Peter Hartley and Collins both passed up chances in front of goal and, while last year home boss Gary Johnson was seething at the way Pools stole a 1-0 win, this time around it was his side who were the fortunate ones.
"They are struggling at the bottom and got the ball up to Howard and get runners in,'' he said. "It didn't make for a spectacle.
"We were under the cosh and they were dangerous. A new manager wants the job and they competed and didn't look like a dying swan.''
Brown should be the man tasked with not only keeping Pools up, but in dismantling the squad and rebuilding. No matter what division Pools are in next season, a big transformation is needed.
Barron said: "We have to believe and I honestly feel they do believe. You can only take belief from performances and I thought we played well later on. It's a case of asking why they don't go in.
"I don't want to be down on luck because we are bottom, but this was a good performance.
"I asked for a 90 minute performance and then we started slowly first 15 to 20 minutes or so. But then we grew into it and played much better.
"It's hard to come away and stamp our authority on the game from the start, but we did it later on.''
1-0: Edwards (7, poked in at near post after cross was allowed to come over)
Bookings: McAllister (foul 30), Sweeney (foul 31), Howard (foul 56), Austin (83, foul)
Referee: Tim Robinson (Bognor Regis): No need at all to book both Sweeney and Austin and made some awful choices late on in the game 4
YEOVIL (4-4-2): Stech 5; Ayling 5, Burn 7, Webster 7, McAllister 5; Edwards 6, Smith 5, Johnson 6, Foley 6 (Reid 78); Hayter 5 (Marsh Brown 64, 5), Madden 5. Subs (not used): Hinds, Williams, Stewart, Haynes Brown.
HARTLEPOOL UNITED (4-5-1):
6 Flinders: When he was asked to deal with first-half pressure, he did it well;
4 Richards: Played some searching balls forward in the second-half in the hope of getting something. Caught out
positionally for the goal as
Yeovil crossed from where he
should have been
7 Collins: Defended with the authority which has been lacking during his season so far. Set the standards with this performance.
5 Hartley: Should have at least hit the target with a second half shot when a corner fell to him at the far post, but was generally overshadowed by
6 Austin: Was chased and put under pressure in the first-half, but was comfortable at left-back again;
7 POOLE: The confidence he has lacked so far this season is returning and was Pools' brightest attacking outlet going
forward as they looked for a
route back into the game
5 Murray: Didn't close the game down like he is capable of doing in midfield. A bit of a quiet figure
6 Walton: Used the ball well in the second period when Pools started to dictate possession
and he tried to forge a way to a
6 Sweeney: Free header from Howard's knock-down should have brought an equaliser and
his effort and firm running was
a feature of Pools' game
6 Franks: Like in midweek against Tranmere he was positive and tried to get
forward out wide;
5 Howard: Suspended next week after his fifth booking of the season
Wyke (for Franks 82)
Luscombe (for Murray 86)
(not used): Humphreys, Horwood, Baldwin, Holden, McHugh.
MAN OF THE MATCH
JAMES Poole - from an advanced role on the right side he was pushed forward and pressed the home defence onto the back foot