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Hughes in it for the long-haul at Victoria Park
FOR John Hughes, moving from Scotland to manage in English football was a challenge he couldn't resist - although he admits its come at an emotional and financial cost.
Appointed Hartlepool United manager in November, Hughes spent his playing and managerial career north of the border before the Livingston boss was offered the chance to replace Neale Cooper at Victoria Park.
In inheriting a struggling and out of sorts squad at Victoria Park, Hughes has one win in seven games to his name - albeit at title-chasers Sheffield United.
But he insists it's a long-term project to lift Pools' desperate fortunes around and admitted: "I had real strong conversations with Russ (Green, chief executive) and the chairman when I came in about what had to be done.
"But every manager needs time. I need to get the best out of these boys and try to take Hartlepool back to where we all want to be.
"We're miles away from that but I've got a great desire.
"I told the players that I've got a wife and three kids, two of them at 10-year-old who are at a great age to be around about.
"But I came here even though I had a job, and trust me, it's not for the money - once I've paid the bills I'm probably out of pocket.
"But I wanted to come down here and have a right good go.
"I wanted to come to places like Sheffield United and MK Dons.''
Hughes hoped the 3-2 win at Bramall Lane could inspire his players to put up a real fight at the foot of the League One table.
Instead, they lost their next game two days later at home to Preston and, ahead of this weekend's trip to Shrewsbury, he admitted: "Winning at Sheffield United was a fantastic present coming into the new year for the supporters.
"If your mindset is right you should be saying 'I can't wait for this game to start'.
"You should be doing the extra work, the boxing, the runs, to make sure you feel 10-feet tall when you're stood in that tunnel.
"You should relish coming to places like Sheffield United and we did. Every one of them to a man on the day was a different class.''
Without a game at the weekend because of Bournemouth's FA Cup involvement, Hughes arranged a friendly with Northern League Norton to give some of his under-used squad players a game.
A number of them will play again today in the reserves at Mansfield and Hughes was satisfied with the response in the 4-0 win on Saturday.
"A lot of the boys did very well and it was encouraging," he said.
"I didn't want the weekend to pass by without a match - I believe you can go stale without competitive action.
"Jack Baldwin, James Poole and Nathan Luscombe all played the full match and they should be pushing now to get in that first-team.
"Jack was unlucky in that he picked up his fifth booking a couple of weeks back and found himself out of the team, he'd done brilliantly for me before that.
"Poolie has shown what he can do a couple of times from the bench and when he came on at Sheffield United he was different class.''
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