THEY are old rivals from their Scotland days, but Middlesbrough manager Tony Mowbray is backing new manager John Hughes to turn things around at Hartlepool United.

Mowbray and Hughes have crossed paths on several occasions during their managerial careers with the Boro boss' spells at Celtic and Hibernian coinciding with the new Pools manager's stints at Falkirk and Hibs.

Hughes became Hartlepool's new manager this week, replacing Neale Cooper.

Loading article content

The former Celtic defender faces a tough task to steer the club away from trouble, but Mowbray believes Hughes has the right qualities to achieve that.

"Yogi's a good man, a football man and I know for a long time he's been searching for an opportunity to come to England," Mowbray said.

"Now that has arrived on this doorstep he will give every ounce of effort and work.

"He has a fabulous work ethic, he's always been in England watching matches, I've seen him on the line at reserve matches. He's got a fabulous work ethic, he followed two managers after me to Hibs.

"I wish him well. He's got a great record working with young players, at Falkirk in particular.

"It's important that Hartlepool try and stay in the division. John's got a tough task from the point he's taken over when you look at the table and yet there's a long way to go.

"He'll bring enthusiasm, drive and energy to the team and a few of the players might have a wee shock coming their way so good luck to them!"

One of Boro's youth graduates, Jonathan Grounds, joined Pools on a permanent basis in the summer and Mowbray, who has allowed striker Charlie Wyke to move to Victoria Park on loan, has promised to help Hughes out in the future.

He said: "He knows my number if he needs any help regarding players etc and we will do our best to help and yet Yogi will have his own thoughts on players and what he needs and how he sets his teams up."