We asked you to send in your questions for Pools Manager Craig Harrison. And, after receiving a whole range of questions, we put a selection of them to the Gaffer this week…
I would like to ask Craig how he intends to restore the Club to the Football League when it has been in a slump for so long and flirted with relegation so many times.
CH: I think with improving the squad, just improving everything where I think I can. Like I have said in interviews, personally I have very very high standards on and off the pitch regarding professionalism, how people should act, fitness, commitment and being a good professional. Once you get all of that together, the ones that want to commit to that will be successful and stay and those that don’t will fall by the wayside and move on. There is no room for people who don’t want to be fully committed to getting the Football Club back in the EFL as soon as we can.
My family and I moved from Hartlepool to North Wales five years ago this month, with your history with North Wales teams, is there a chance Pools could have a pre-season friendly with a team from North Wales?
CH: Pre-season is already organised and we have everything in place now that we need to do so I very much doubt that will be a possibility this year unfortunately.
My question is, have you been given full authority to attract the players you need, and select teams without interference?
CH: Yes, absolutely.
Hi Craig, welcome to Hartlepool United. What would you call a successful season as your first season as Manager?
CH: Getting back in the Football League. That’s where we want to be and we want to give ourselves the best chance of getting there, whether that be automatically or through the play offs. It will be a successful season in my eyes if we give ourselves the best opportunity to get back into the League.
What will be the key to getting the players motivated and to respond positively after last season to bounce straight back up?
CH: I think as professional people, the motivation they need is last season. Obviously they had some part to play in the team going out of the Football League and, speaking to all of the players, they are all highly motivated and feel they owe it to the Club, the team, town and fans to get back up as soon as they can. The motivation is there if you are clever with it, the motivation is the disappointment of last year, to get straight back up and have a completely reverse end to the season to the year before.
Will you bring in enough decent players that will help us get back into League Two at the first try?
CH: That is the one thing I will be doing my utmost to do. We are working hard on a daily basis to bring in the players to boost the squad and will continue to do so.
Do you have the best hairstyle in the league out of all of the other managers?
CH: Yes definitely, and the shiniest!!!
Do you think any of your former players would be good enough to do a job for us in the National League? Do you envisage making a move for them if this is the case?
CH: Yes I do think there are players who are good enough. Some of those players have played 10-20 Champions League games. As for making a move for them, we will have to wait and see. We have a list of 15 to 20 players that we are looking at and we’re going down that list to try and bring the best ones in that we can.
What does Head of Recruitment do at a Club like Hartlepool and does he have control over player recruitment or is that solely your domain, subject to fees etc. being acceptable to the finances of the Club?
CH: Head of Recruitment really does the leg work that probably I wouldn’t have the time to do. He speaks with agents, organises the finances, looks after the players once they sign for the Club. At the end of the day, I make a decision on what players I want and then hand it over to the Head of Recruitment. I must have received over 250 CVs in the first week of being here so he will help go through all of them so he is a bit of a buffer really and someone who goes and brokers the deals.
- Is it possible to give supporters a weekly update on what you are working on/have done?
- What positions have you been looking to recruit?
- Do you have the final decision on new coaching staff and players?
- What type of formation do you like to play?
CH: Yes, that is something we can definitely try to do through the Club’s website. I can start now with my first week.
First and foremost I have been speaking to the current players, speaking to other players regarding recruitment and re-organising pre-season and that’s about it so far – though that’s not bad given I’ve only been here for just over a week!
CH: I am just looking to improve the squad right the way across the board. Whatever we can improve, we will.
CH: Yes, definitely.
CH: A mixture. I think there is a time and a place to change formations, to change strategy and it will be according to whoever we play as well. There will be changes, one thing we have to be is flexible. There are also different interpretations of formation as well.