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Bates' Blog: Hard Work Has Started

17 May 2018

Matthew Bates Mark Fletcher (Shutter Press)
Pools boss Matthew Bates

Pools boss Matthew Bates shares his views on the retained list, ongoing work on the transfer front and his plans for pre-season.

Hello everyone and welcome to the first of my summer blogs here on the Official Website.

I wanted to try and give you all a bit of insight in to the work that is going on behind the scenes at Victoria Park to make sure we’re as ready as we can be for 2018/19.

This week I have spoken with the players individually to let them know about their futures. I have to be honest, that’s been the hardest part of the job so far. It certainly wasn’t easy to have the conversations with players who have, ultimately, done their bit to get me the job here.

However difficult it’s been, we’re all acting in the best interests of the Club so those hard conversations needed to be had. I have my own ideas about moving forward and the kind of squad I want and there are some contracted players who don’t perhaps quite fit in to the budget and have therefore been made available for transfer or loan.

I felt it was important to speak to every player in the squad, both the ones who have left and the ones who are remaining with the Club. I wanted to make sure they all know what I expect from them both individually and as a team next season.

It was also useful for me to be able to explain to them a little more about what kind of pre-season it will be and that way they can tailor their individual plans over the summer to make sure they come back ready for what will be very hard work.

I did manage to get away for a few days at the beginning of last week to unwind when I visited Barcelona. We had a nice apartment out there which had a quiet outdoor area so for the first time in about four months I was able to switch off for an hour and really relax.

We also got to see a Barcelona game which was brilliant – they beat Villarreal 5-1 and the football was quite a lot different to what we’re used to here but still very enjoyable obviously. I have since emailed Barça a list of players I am interested in…

Even while I was away there was a part of me chomping at the bit to get back to the office and continue the work we’ve started. Being a Manager is a non-stop job so even while I was abroad there were calls and texts coming in all the time. We were only there three days but by the last night I was just looking forward to getting back to business.

I have been working closely with Craig Hignett who is obviously back at the Club as our new Director of Football now. It’s been great to have that helping hand with things because I can allow him to do a lot of talking to agents and things like that which takes a lot of pressure off my shoulders to let me focus on other things.

I want to move quickly on the transfer front and try to bring some new players in to the Club but we all know it’s not always as easy as that. We’re working hard and speaking to players – we had conversations with three or four on Wednesday alone – and an offer went in to one player so they can look at that and see what they want to do.

It would be nice to get a couple of players through the door over the next couple of weeks but I think, realistically, a lot of our business will be done during pre-season. I think the loan market is going to be important for us and obviously that doesn’t usually get going until later in the year when clubs know which players are available to go out.

We want to try and bring some of those younger players from a higher level in to the group but we’re also looking to find the experienced lads who can come in to help them develop and give us that know-how that we’ll need.

We’ll be looking at playing different systems during pre-season; we’ll look at three at the back and four at the back so to do that we’ll need players who can adapt to both systems. It will be a smaller squad than in previous years but that flexibility is key and that’s what we’ll be looking for when we’re targeting new signings.

All in all it’s been an exciting and busy couple of weeks since the season ended but there is a lot going on at the Club to get things prepared. There just seems to be a different feel around the place now and a togetherness coming back which is only going to serve us all well as we move towards the new season.

I’ll try and do a blog like this every Thursday if possible so if you have any questions you’d like me to answer next week then send them through to and I’ll do my best to include my responses here in the next article.

I hope you’re all enjoying your summer and thank you for your continued support.


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