Pools out to turn Victoria Park into a horrible place for the opposition

FOCUS: John Hughes

FOCUS: John Hughes

First published in Sport
Last updated
The Northern Echo: Photograph of the Author by

ONE home win, a first for John Hughes, only a second of the season for Hartlepool United - and now the coach wants to turn Victoria Park into the sort of place people don't like visiting.

An horrendous run of seven successive home defeats was ended last weekend when Pools saw off Notts County 2-1.

You had to go back to September 1 for their previous three-point return at home and their record at Victoria Park since September 2011 is abysmal.

They have suffered 21 defeats there since beating Bury 3-0 some 17 months ago, winning only on five occassions in that time, drawing eight.

"I have to say it's nice for me personally to get a home win,'' he admitted. "Now you can see we can win home games.

"It's something we look at, talk to a lot of people and a lot of opposition coaches and they say they used to hate coming to Hartlepool, they were in a game, a battle and we need to get back to that again.

"I know the way others play football - Bournemouth and Notts County - in popping it around and passing it, that's how I want to be. But it doesn't mean the best football team wins the match, that was evident on Saturday.

"I feel that the mindset and talking about what might arise in a game helped them out a bit. We showed character from losing a goal to getting the winner.''

Hughes started out as Pools coach by encouraging his side to play a passing game from back, but that has been sacrificed for a hard-working, high-tempo outlook of late.

"In terms of football where we are, some people hide from it. I want players to take a step back and use the ball, but sometimes in a game you have to adapt,'' he said.

"If you want to be in it's everything or nothing - put your head on the line and all that was evident.

"They are good boys not scared of hard work. We want to make it better. For 25 minutes second-half on Saturday I would have liked to have seen us string some passes together, get your foot on it and control the game to be brave in possession.''

Pools reserve game at Chesterfield yesterday was postponed because of snow.

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