MANAGER takes new job. Manager criticises former regime for a lack of fitness amongst the players. Dressing room in pieces, a squad broken and fractured.

It’s a standard script within football.

It’s not, however, one for Hartlepool United right now.

Dave Challinor takes charge of his first home game today, when Pools take on Boreham Wood at Victoria Park.

Pools have suffered one defeat in seven games since the last manager was replaced. Antony Sweeney had one loss in five matches as caretaker boss, Challinor has a win and draw since taking command.

When Sweeney stepped up, assisted by Ian McGuckin, after Craig Hignett was axed, he engineered an upturn in form and fortunes.

He changed from a back three to a four and got his front men linking up smartly.

And Challinor admitted: “I suppose a lot of jobs you go into, essentially it’s into jobs with a struggling team. This wasn’t the case here, largely down to what was done to the interim period between Craig going and me coming in. What Sweens and Gucky did was great.

“Responding to that, they got some good results.’’

Now is the time for the new boss and his assistant Joe Parkinson to further develop both team and individuals. There should be a lot more to come from this squad.

“For me, there’s loads of room for improvement and different ideas, voices and ways to go about it and hopefully we will push different buttons for different players,’’ he said.

“The job is to make them as good as we can and if we’ve not got teams from higher leagues looking and enquiring about our players then we are not doing our job.

“That’s the message to the players – as much as we want them to be here, they need aspirations to improve and play in the Football League, hopefully with Hartlepool United but if not then higher up the ladder.’’

Pools should have a better record of players moving to higher divisions and bigger things. But too few leave the club to a brighter career outlook.

Challinor mused: “As a manager it’s about developing players – that’s what it has to be about. You have to put it bluntly at times and I am aspirational and want to be managing in the Football League.

“Where the ceiling of that is? Who knows. It has to be a players’ responsibility as well and I wanted to play as high as I could as a player.

“You have to be ambitious and want to improve day by day. If you don’t the competition is ridiculous out there. It’s massive. Some players will do all it takes to progress and if you are one who shirks and doesn’t do yourself justice then you will drop by the wayside and that is criminal when you have the ability, but one aspect of attitude lets you down.’’

Challinor watched Pools last home game, a single goal defeat to Solihull on the day it was announced he was to take charge.

A full week on the training ground has been welcomed after the challenges presented by the FA Cup trips to Yeovil.

Pools are back on the road twice next week, at Chesterfield on Tuesday then an FA Cup haul to Exeter on Sunday.

This is one home game sandwiched around five away matches.

The manager added: “There’s a sense of expectation at home and we look forward to it. No matter what level you play at, you want crowds and atmospheres. I go back to the game at Notts County and it was a proper game, the sort you want to play in.

“People at home are desperate for us to do well and get behind us and we have to give them something to go at.

“In general, I love being with the players, on the training pitch and players want to play positive football which is exciting.

“That contact time with players is important to make them better and if we can improve them individually then everyone benefits from it.

“Players have to buy into it, but it’s been good and enjoyable. I’ve had a short period out before I came here, but I’ve been involved in football for 25 years or so – it’s an environment I thrive in.

“It’s a challenge to improve players and we, as a management team, are young but with ambitions to progress and do really well.

“We will be judged on what we get out of the players and they have to buy into it – and they have done that so far and been fantastic. There’s improvement to be had and we want to see that.’’

He added: “At home Boreham Wood are a very effective and efficient team in sitting and being a counter-attacking threat. Two teams with strengths in counter-attacking. We have to be positive and on the front foot and make sure we get the crowd behind us.’’