We spoke to Matthew Bates after he secured his second signing of the season, with the addition of striker Niko Muir to his squad.
And the Pools boss brought us his thoughts on the new signing as well as providing an update ahead of the players returning to training…
Welcome to my latest blog on the Club’s Official Website.
This morning we were delighted to finalise the signing of Niko Muir. It’s one that came up first at the end of last season but you get loads of names thrown at you when you’re a manager. It got brought up again a few weeks ago and the more we watched him and did our homework, the more convinced we became that he is the kind of player we want.
People upload their goals to YouTube – anyone can do that, but we were able to watch plenty of action of Niko playing in full games and in their play-offs at the end of last season. We also spoke to QPR who had him on trial last season and they were full of praise as well so it just got more exciting the further we went down the line so we’re delighted to get the deal done.
What I got from him when we spoke was how determined he was. He’s a London lad, has lived there his whole life and has family, friends and a partner but he said all the right things and he wants to give this a good crack. That shows his desire to succeed and I think he has all the mental attributes to do well for us.
We’re all comfortable with the way things are progressing on the recruitment front. Sometimes there are days when the phone doesn’t ring and then other days it’s non-stop but that’s just the way it is. There are conversations going on at the moment and hopefully imminent deals to be done – hopefully over the next week to ten days we can have another two, three or even four through the door.
I am just looking forward to training now. I have had a good break and now it’s getting closer I am just itching to be back. I am comfortable with what’s going on behind the scenes so it will be nice to get out of the office and back on to the training pitch – and that’s where the hard work really starts.
I have already warned the lads to expect a hard pre-season. I have been a player myself and a hard pre-season might get you moaning and groaning at the time but when you line-up in the tunnel for the first game you feel fit and ready. We’ll handle any grumbling because we know what we’re doing is for the long-term benefit and it will be worth it in the end.
We’ve got a nice blend of pre-season games to look forward to. I will be trying different things out in terms of shape and line-ups so results won’t be the be all and end all – it’s just about finding out what works and how things can be adapted.
The fixtures will soon be out and that will add to the excitement too, so it’s just about building everything up slowly with myself, Ged and Ross now. We can’t wait to get going and we will be working as hard as we can.
We had a few questions sent in for the Manager and he was happy to answer them all:
Q: As you will know more than anyone, a regular goalscorer/ talisman is so important in this league. Can you reassure fans that you will be doing all you can to sign a striker with proven credentials at this level? Good luck in the close season. I’m sure I speak for all Pools fans in saying we are right behind you.
MB: We’re trying very hard. It’s difficult because I think if you speak to every manager they will tell you they want a goalscorer but they’re few and far between. We’ll keep looking. We tried to get a player we considered as proven a few weeks ago, made a very good offer to him but he decided to go elsewhere. We’ll keep going though and hopefully get the players we need in forward areas.
Q: Well done for getting the job, I am a long standing season ticket holder who sits in the Millhouse Stand, we have a great little community there who all backed you at the end of last season and we are glad that you have been given this opportunity. My question is, last year’s team seemed to be lacking leadership, especially from the more senior players, how does ‘on pitch’ leaders feature in your plans for the new squad?
MB: That’s a massive part of our recruitment drive. We want to sign a mix of talents but within that leadership is one of the biggest factors – we want people who have been there and done it. I think we have lacked proper leaders in recent seasons, that shows in our home record in my opinion.
Q: Just want to say as a life long Hartlepool fan, what a refreshing change and honest insight this blog is. As a fan I want to thank you, keep up the good work. This is really a new chapter and I’m proud to be a Poolie. PS have Barcelona got back to you yet?
MB: Thank you for your kind comments. Haha! I think my email to them must have slipped in to their spam folder!
If you have a question for Matthew Bates that you would like to see him answer in his next Blog, send it through to firstname.lastname@example.org.