HARTLEPOOL United are bottom of the League One class, and manager John Hughes is out to educate his players.
Defeat at home to Bournemouth on Tuesday was a their seventh successive Victoria Park defeat.
It’s a shabby run, but they actually lost two more in a row last season.
Pools, likely to be without Antony Sweeney (knee), Steve Howard (hamstring) and Jordan Richards (knee) when they set off for Portsmouth tomorrow, have a coach in place willing to put the hours in to change his players outlook.
“Being a footballer isn’t about putting a strip on,’’ he said. “You might play with your mates and run about and try hard, but there’s a science to it.
“Your passes have to be correct, play between the lines, learn from each game, appreciate the game and how it flows, that’s the science.
“And if you are not educated enough it’s no good just going out there with a strip on. You have to execute your performance.’’
Pools are the architects of their own downfall on too many occasions – on Tuesday they conceded a penalty for the sixth successive home game and three of those games have been lost by one goal.
“We matched Bournemouth in the second half and it’s so disappointing with the goal we conceded – another penalty at home and that’s six in six games,’’ said Hughes, who has lost all of his five games at Victoria Park.
“If we get beat, then get beat with a style of play people will still talk about it. We are miles away from that at the moment, miles away.’’
Jack Baldwin will replace Sweeney at Fratton Park after playing 85 minutes in midfield on Tuesday. He scored his first goal to level the score at 1-1 and Hughes said: “Jack’s goal will do him good, he took a sore one in the face. It took him a while to get going out there and he can play in midfield.
“He is one of the young players here I want to coach and develop. I want to turn him into a real good footballer.’’
The midfield numbers have dropped after Paul Murray was released from his contract on Tuesday.
Now 36, Murray is likely to move into coaching after finding himself out of the first team under Hughes.
“Muzza is a real trooper - and this isn’t talking rubbish, but in ten weeks or so I’ve been there and getting to know the bys, Paul Murray is one of the best professionals I’ve worked with,’’ said Hughes.
“So why has he gone? We need younger legs in there, we’ve players who can also play there.
“It took him four hours to get to training the other day, to get here for an hour’s work at the Soccarena – that shows what a professional he is.
“He is looking at coaching and management and it’s good to come to an agreement to pursue that. At the end of the season there will be a clamour for jobs and if he can get ahead of people then all well and good.’’
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