FOLLOWING the most morose of campaigns at Victoria Park, Micky Barron is looking forward to wiping the slate clean and getting stuck into a new Hartlepool United era.

Pools end their season at Crawley Town this afternoon, 11 days since relegation was confirmed.

John Hughes was appointed in November and, after ending a disastrous 22-game winless stretch at the turn of the year, he engineered 30 points in the second half of the season.

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That they had a pathetic nine points until the win at Sheffield United on December 29 says everything about the situation from August onwards.

There's a mutual respect for Hughes and Barron, who didn't know each other before the Scot's was headhunted from Livingston for the job.

And Barron revealed a change is in the offing in style at Victoria Park next season: "I've really enjoyed working with John. The style of football he wants to play is positive. When we played academy football, the better and bigger teams always seemed to play a style against us that we didn't.

"He want to play that passing game, keep the ball, and I'm really looking forward to putting that in place in the first team with him for next season and really working with him on that style of play.

"From that point of view it's enjoyable, but not one other part has been. It's been difficult and it's how we come out of it the other side - learn from it and gain the experience from it.

"We have played good football in the odd game and it's pre season when you get the work done and bed down your ideas. When the manager came in there was a lot of games coming thick and fast and we didn't really get chance to impress the style of play on them.

"I think it was against Stevenage at home when we really passed the ball well and that's the type of football you will see - possession football. But it needs working on and putting the hours in on the training ground to nail it down.''

Barron has been part of the coaching staff at the club since his retirement from playing in 2007, first with the youth team before progressing to be the right-hand man of Hughes, Neale Cooper and Mick Wadsworth.

Since his arrival as a player from Middlesbrough in 1996, Barron has worked under 11 permanent managers at the club, two caretakers and has had two brief spells in charge himself.

Of Hughes he said: "I love the way he is with the players, how he treats them and speaks to them. He is a real fun guy to work with and learn from. He always asks how you are, how the family is and the like and his knowledge of the game is up there and really impressive.

"He looks at things a bit differently to how other managers I've worked with does and we are looking forward to the summer and next season to put his ideas into practice.''

Barron was a defender in the side that was relegated in 2006. That time they went down on goal difference on the final day of the season after a 1-1 home draw with Port Vale.

It's a different situation this time as they have been entrenched in the bottom four for the vast majority of the season.

"I've been relegated here as a player as well and I think it's harder as a coach, I've taken this one far harder than when I was playing,'' he admitted.

"It's a lot harder to deal with and it's going to make me, as a member of the coaching staff, a bit more time to get over this one than when I was playing.

"As a player you look after yourself. It's important to talk about the situation with the players, talk about it and that can help you move on.

"Use it as a tool to move forward for next season. If we don't mention it then it just brushes it under the carpet and it lingers.

"This last two weeks have been hard for everyone. You are putting on sessions and you can tell the players don't really want to be training because the goal isn't there anymore.

"If it's gone to the last game everyone would be buzzing, but it hasn't happened so we do what we can.

"Last time we were relegated we came back up - that's a great example to use. We can talk about how we did it and how hard it was and how enjoyable as well.

"Use that experience in what you know to help the players. It will be tough to get out of, but it's a challenge we won't be frightened of. It's physical and testing at times, but it's not something we are scared of.''

Jack Price, who holds the distinction of scoring Pools' fastest goal - when he netted after 14 seconds against Rochdale in 1948 - has died, aged 94. Born in Shotton, he holds the distinction of being the only player to wear Pools' colours before, during and after the Second World War.