Former Hartlepool striker Daryl Duffy knows all about new Pools boss John Hughes - he made his professional debut under his tutelage. Paul Fraser finds out more
BROUGHT up as one of six children in a working-class family in Leith, John Hughes quickly learned how to handle himself in the docklands area of Edinburgh and he has become renowned for his no-nonsense approach to Scottish football.
But when Hughes takes a training session as Hartlepool United's latest first team coach this morning, the playing staff are likely to find he will be fair, driven and determined to get results.
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There are likely to be some members of the dressing room he inherits that will not warm to the style he adopts, but similarly there will be others appreciative of the message he is trying to get across.
Darryl Duffy, the former Hartlepool loan striker who made his professional debut under the man nicknamed Yogi because he shares the same name as ex-Sunderland and Celtic defender John 'Yogi' Hughes, still admires and respects everything he ever learned from him.
"I got on great with Yogi, but he's like Marmite. You either love him or you don't like him and you can't get on with him," said Duffy.
"I remember that year when we won promotion with Falkirk (in 2004-05) and I was the leading scorer, I got 27 goals that season in all competitions. But if he felt something needed saying to me, or anyone else, he would say it.
"He had no favourites in the dressing room and that was a good thing. I appreciated the fact he would roast me, blast me, even though I was scoring a lot of the team's goals.
"I remember one game, a cup game, where he was playing centre-half because he was player-manager at that time. He tried to play the ball up to me and for whatever reason it didn't stick.
"When we went in at half-time, in front of the rest of the lads, he had a right go at me saying 'There you were, stood up there fixing your hair, I've never seen a centre-forward fixing his hair when the ball goes up to them.'
"To this day I can't remember fixing my hair, but that's what he was like, he would have a go if he didn't think things were going well. Some don't like it, but I always thought it was the best way to get the best from players."
Hartlepool is the fourth managerial position Hughes has held, having followed up his maiden role with Falkirk by leading Hibernian and Livingston and has had a degree of success at all.
He has left the latter when Livingston are sitting fifth in the Scottish First Division after just nine months in charge, while he led his boyhood club Hibs to Europe before he lost his job less than six months later.
Duffy is now a striker at Cheltenham Town, but during his time at Bristol Rovers he was reunited with his former boss when Hughes took him on a season-long loan. His appearances were limited because he suffered a broken foot on the eve of what would have been his debut.
But it was Hughes' six-year stint at Falkirk when he really made his mark. "He took them up to the Scottish Premier League, won the Challenge Cup and I really enjoyed my time under him," said Duffy, 28, who scored five goals in ten matches for Pools when he was on loan from Hull in 2006.
"Even when we were at Hibs he got sacked just a few games in to a season after he had delivered Europa League football. What I'm saying is that he has a great managerial style and has strong beliefs, philosophies, he likes his team to play attractive football and Hartlepool have made a good appointment.
"Fans should give him plenty time. He knows what he wants, success never came easy for him at Falkirk or Hibernian but with time he delivered. I'm sure he will deliver at Hartlepool if he is given the time."