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Award is an honour for everyone at Victoria Park, says Hughes
HARTLEPOOL United boss John Hughes yesterday insisted his manager of the month award was for everyone connected with Hartlepool United.
As Hughes was crowned League One's best for February after leading Pools to four wins and two draws, his skipper Peter Hartley was also awarded the player of the month gong.
Mick Wadsworth and Sam Collins were the last Pools duo to take a double award, for an impressive run in December 2011.
Hartley scored twice in last month's unbeaten stretch, netting against Notts County and Leyton Orient as Pools gave themselves a fighting chance of staying in League One.
Ahead of today's game at Coventry, Hughes admitted: "It's credit to everyone at the club, it's nice to be recognised for hard work and results.
"But if I was to put the award in the dressing room then anyone of them could take it home, along with the office staff and backroom team and supporters. Everyone has played a part and the whole place has been galvanised.
"It's nice to be nominated and then win the award, there's other good managers in there.''
Pools have stuttered in their last three games. Following a convincing 3-0 win over Crewe, they lost at League One leaders Doncaster before suffering successive frustrating 0-0 home draws with Colchester and Yeovil.
With nine games to go, Pools are at relegation-rivals Oldham next Tuesday, Hughes needs his side to go again.
Finding that level of performance which swept them through February is essential now and Hughes added: "The response and backing I've had has been fantastic. We've still got a real couple of months in front of us and I'm hoping they are inspired by the challenge ahead.
"We cannot sit back, we have to be positive. I watched Arsenal on Wednesday, they were different class. And a lot of people have said after the two legs against Bayern Munich that no two games are the same - and it's the same for us.
"We were different class against Crewe, then went to Doncaster and were a bit flat. It's how it's going to be between now and the end of the season, we cannot be flat, cannot feel sorry for ourselves. We know what is required and we have standards to hit.''
Hughes has a mix of youthful exuberance and stout experience in his side and, while three of his younger charges offer the attacking spark up front, they are well shadowed and protected by those behind them.
Starting at the Ricoh Arena today, Hughes wants those three to get back to their past form.
"I think the experienced guys who have been there and have 15 pre-seasons under their belt, they see things coming,'' he insisted. "They are long in the tooth and know how to deal with emotions, mental tiredness.
"The younger boys, to ask them to take it on, is different. I can guarantee that the likes of James Poole, Charlie Wyke and Jon Franks, it's the most they have played at this sort of level in consecutive games.
"But they give us energy, give us legs and can conjure up a goal from nothing.
"So we keep asking them to go again and keep going.''
Today's game is the first of five games in 17 days. The outcome of the schedule will go a long way to shaping the outcome of their season.
Pools could do with seven wins, Hughes feels five will give them a chance.
And, when they are in action, it's a case of looking after his players and allowing them to rest.
"Looking at the schedule and, if Oldham, had gone ahead last week and then we went to Coventry on Saturday, it would have been a case of 'see you Thursday boys','' he said.
"I'm the first to tell you that you will get people reading this and saying, what's going on there? I'm in that gang, trust me I can see it.
"But at this moment in time, it's about recharging the batteries, and going again. There's a game, so give them a couple of days off. In training there's not much hard work to do, it's about playing and resting, ticking over.
"I've said we have a system we know and are happy with, I've not done much coaching since I came which annoys me. It's about organising them and putting those values in the dressing room for them to go and honour.''