Send us your pictures, video, news and views by texting NORTHERN ECHO to 80360 or email us
Pools' project has not even started yet, says Hughes
HE'S engineered a Hartlepool United improvement in recent weeks, but John Hughes claims he hasn't even got started yet.
Pools' game at Oldham last night was frozen off, re-arranged for next Tuesday.
By then, Pools will have been at Coventry City and one game further down the line that leads to either survival or relegation.
Hughes is a hands-on coach, who likes to see his players develop as footballers under his wing.
There's no doubt Pools have improved no end as a team and as individuals of late, but he insists the level of displays have been little to do with deep-rooted coaching sessions at the club's Maiden Castle base in Durham.
"A few things concern me - one is that I've not even coached them,'' he said. "If you put a real good coaching session on, take them into the classroom to learn, go from there to the training pitch and let them develop onto the football pitch, that's inspiring, that's not just coaching.
"I want them to go home having learned things and you can do that as a coach. What I've had to do is galvanise them and I've not had time to coach.
"All I've done is man management and asked a lot of questions about them individually. I've asked about teams coming to the Vic over the years and I know teams didn't like that and we have to make the most of it.
"Questions I get asked by the press - I take them on board and ask questions to my players and ask them to come up with answers and respond positively.
"That's why I have to give the players all the credit. I've seen guys excel and I've seen them play with a freedom and I said at the start I wanted them to play with a smile, express themselves and we are seeing the benefits of that.''
Hughes built up his reputation in Scotland with Falkirk and Hibs before he left Livingston to move to Pools last November.
While they have played a better brand of football in patches, they have yet to implement Hughes' passing game on a regular basis.
He does, however, insist that will come in time.
"I'm a football purist, trust me,'' he said. "I like total football, combination, link-up play and all that, but I know we are in a situation here where we roll up our sleeves and not beat ourselves too much.
"It's me as a manager using another page of know how and knowledge to get the best out of them. It's about engaging with players and letting them have their say. It's a lesson I learned from others - treat people with respect, how you would like to be treated yourself.''