MICKY Barron believes he is now better placed for the stresses of football management – but he remains reluctant to publicly declare interest in succeeding Neale Cooper in the Hartlepool United hotseat.
Pools’ search for a new boss continues today with a shortlist having been drawn up and interviews set to take place.
Barron’s name is certain to feature, as are those of Phil Brown, Alan Thompson, Darrell Clarke and Colin Cooper.
Pools travel to Chesterfield in the first round of the FA Cup tomorrow and entertain Tranmere Rovers in the league on Wednesday night, a pair of matches for which Barron will remain in charge.
The 37-year-old has handled himself well since taking the reins in the wake of Cooper’s resignation last week, and a much-improved display in the 2-2 draw at Brentford would have done his chances of landing the permanent role no harm at all.
Barron took temporary care of the side 11 months ago following Mick Wadsworth’s exit, but he admits he has learned a lot since that first taste of management.
“I’m enjoying it more this time,” said the former Pools star. “I was a little bit calmer on Saturday than I was a year before and I hope that rubs off on the players.
“I feel more comfortable and I know exactly what I want to do.
“Last year I was thrown in and it was a bit like being a rabbit in the headlights. I’m a year down the line with a lot more experience.”
Barron, though, is the ultimate diplomat when pressed on his ambitions of becoming the new boss.
“I’ll carry on until told otherwise,” he said. “I’ve got a job which I’m happy to do and I’ll carry on doing that and preparing the team for the next match.
“The most important thing for me now is getting the team into the next round of the cup.
“The FA Cup is huge to us. We haven’t done well enough in recent years. A run brings in good revenue and it gives the players an extra buzz.
“There’s no squad rotation or resting players with us – we’ll be playing our strongest team to win the game. We’ll be playing our strongest team on Wednesday as well – we can’t rotate players.”
That means Barron is likely to stick with the team who drew 2-2 at Brentford last weekend.
Barron will be without Andy Monkhouse (ankle) and Luke James (hernia) for the trip to South Yorkshire, while news is still awaited on Sunderland loanee Ryan Noble being given permission to play in the cup.