MICKY Barron climbed from his sick bed to celebrate his first managerial victory – and then dedicated the triumph to his under-fire players.
The Pools squad have come in for some heavy criticism in recent weeks after a slump in form which cost manager Mick Wadsworth his job, leaving Barron in temporary charge.
His caretaker reign kicked off with two defeats, but yesterday that run was halted as James Poole struck the only goal at Oldham Athletic.
Barron had been feeling under the weather over Christmas and duly kept his distance from the players immediately before the game.
But he did enough to get his message across and the Pools boss today paid tribute to his men.
“I said to them before the game that I hadn’t been feeling too well the past few days, but the performance and result made me feel a lot better,” he said.
“I think I’m relieved, elated, a little bit of everything really.
“But I’m happier for the players because it’s been tough on them.
“You could see after the game what it meant to them – they were going around congratulating each other because they’re happy and relieved to win as well.
“They were terrific yesterday and the win was well deserved.”
“It was a nice change to come back into a winning dressing room,” Antony Sweeney added: “I’m not sure whether it was relief, joy, excitement or a bit of everything, but it was a good feeling.
“It’s a nice feeling and it’s long overdue.”
Within seven minutes Pools were ahead against Oldham, capitalising on the first-minute injury to James Wesolowski which saw the hosts ridiculously carry on with 10 men for the period up until the opening goal.
Evan Horwood, one of several to emerge from a recent dip in form, hung a cross to the far post where Andy Monkhouse, again unrivalled in the air, nodded down for Poole to hammer home.
Poole should have had a second just moments later when the much-improved Antony Sweeney wriggled free in the area and drew back, only for his comrade to blaze over.
Barron continues to take charge of Pools in the wake of Wadsworth’s sacking and he is almost certain to be in the dugout at Sheffield United on Saturday.
Oldham: Cisak, Parker, Diamond, Clarke, Mellor, Morais, Wesolowski (Adeyemi 8), Furman, Taylor, Scapuzzi (Smith 65), Kuqi. Subs Not Used: Bouzanis, Black, Tarkowski.
Hartlepool: Flinders, Austin, Collins, Hartley, Horwood, Sweeney, Liddle, Murray, Baldwin, Poole (James 85), Monkhouse. Subs Not Used: Rafferty, Humphreys, Boyd, Solano. Goals: Poole 7.
Att: 4,459 Ref: Christopher Sarginson (Staffordshire).