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Same again as Hughes sticks with what he has got
11:48am Friday 15th March 2013 in Sport
STICKING with what he knows – and has at his disposal – has been part of John Hughes’ methods of late.
Since deciding on a system to suit his Hartlepool United squad, the manager has kept changes to his team at a minimum.
It’s a style and a set-up which has worked, as Pools have only lost one game in ten.
During that run, he’s only made two injury-enforced changes to his starting XI.
Starts for Andy Monkhouse and then Nathan Luscombe have happened in the last two games, both following a season-ending knee injury for Jack Baldwin.
It will be same again at Coventry tomorrow.
“I’ve been asked regularly about changing the team,’’ said Hughes.
“Right now, Tony Sweeney isn’t quite ready from his return from injury, Stevie Howard is nursing a wee knee problem every now and then, Luke James is a young boy, we don’t want to ask a kid to do a man’s job.
“And Andy Monkhouse has missed out, he’s more than capable of holding a place down in the starting XI and then it’s down to kids.
“What I’m trying to say is that we have got what we have got, so we work with what we have.’’ Luscombe is again likely to start at Coventry tomorrow, after a being offered a rare chance in the starting XI last week.
“Nathan has come in and he played out of position last weekend, he was a bit out of sorts, but got 70 minutes under his belt,’’ added Hughes, who will today discover if he is the League One manager of the month for February, with skipper Peter Hartley also nominated for the player award.
“We are asking the boys to give what they can until the end of the season.
“We are lacking a real goal threat, a natural scorer.
But we keep ourselves in the game with a three-man midfield and play some nice football from that.’’ Pools suffered a second successive 0-0 draw at home last weekend, when Yeovil visited Victoria Park.
Hughes said: “Yeovil hit the underside of the bar, but we still had the best chance of the game when Tony Sweeney was in on goal and brought a save from the goalkeeper.
“Score then and I’m 100 per cent convinced we would have won the game.
“To simplify it, at Christmas we were down and out.
“To do what we have done, there’s a spring in their step and some pride.
“We’ve a fighting chance and we ask them to go again, win five games to make sure we have a chance of staying up.’’ Millwall have agreed to sign ex-Pools striker Jermaine Easter from Crystal Palace. The 31-yearold will make the short move to The Den on a deal until the end of the season.
Oldham captain Dean Furman has joined League One leaders Doncaster on loan until the end of the season.