RONNIE Moore admits the Hartlepool United job has been “harder” than he expected.
Moore replaced Paul Murray as manager in mid-December – the club’s third manager of the season – on the same day TMH 2014 were announced as the new owners.
With a new manager and owners in place hopes were high bottom-side Pools could turn around the campaign but four games on and the club is still searching for its first league win since October 11.
Moore, who has overseen two draws and two defeats, said: “It’s a tough job, harder than I expected.
“I watched them at Burton Albion when I was looking about at what was happening and first half there was nothing between the sides but then when we concede and the bubble bursts and we cave in.
“When you work with them you see there’s some players who shouldn’t be here – no doubt about that – but there are one or two who have a chance.
“It’s harder than I expected, but it’s about desire and it’s hard to put desire into people if they haven’t got it.
“If you have a heart like a peanut then you ain’t going to be a lion are you?
“We can try and motivate them and get them fired up but I have said that if they can’t play in front of 4,000 people each week then don’t bother turning up.
“The fans are coming here to back you and support you and see you put effort and desire in.
“It’s like being El Cid and I’m sat on that big white horse and they looked at me like I’m daft as they didn’t know who El Cid was!”
Pools are set to be supported by more than 4,000 fans again tomorrow with the club reducing ticket prices for the home matches in January.
Moore said training has been “good and sharp” at Maiden Castle this week ahead of the visit of Cheltenham Town.
He added: “I said I wouldn’t give them a day off until they won but they put a lot of effort in on Saturday [against Wycombe Wanderers] and I felt they could have Wednesday off – let’s see if that comes back to haunt us.”
Moore will once again be without midfielder Tommy Miller for the visit of Cheltenham. Miller, who turned 36 yesterday, hasn’t played since the end of October after damaging his calf.
He has been receiving specialist treatment at St George’s Park, in Burton, but Moore doesn’t expect to have him back training for a further fortnight.
Moore said: “Tommy is his own worst enemy at times because he wants to play that much he is coming back when he is not quite right.
“Buster [physio Ian Gallagher] will hold all the aces there, he is the man in charge.
“A fantastic physio and Hartlepool through and through – I wish they all had his spirit.
“I’m looking at a fortnight before Tommy gets back involved with us.”
Marlon Harewood serves the final match of a three-game suspension, while midfielder Lewis Hawkins serves a one-match ban after being sent off at Wycombe Wanderers.
Michael Woods is back fit again after illness but Stuart Parnaby is out for the season with a knee injury.
Cheltenham will have Liverpool loan trio Jack Dunn, Lloyd Jones and Kevin Stewart available after they all debuted in the 2-1 win at Oxford United.
Pools: Flinders, Duckworth, Harrison, Jones, Austin, Featherstone, Tshibola, Franks, Compton, Fenwick, Bingham.
Subs (from): Maxted, Holden, Richards, Bates, Walker, Woods, Nearney, Smith, Green.
Cheltenham: Carson, Vaughan, Brown, Jones, Braham-Barrett, Sterling-James, Stewart, Ferdinand, Richards, Gornell, Dunn.
Subs: Harrison, Haworth, Gould, Deaman, Hanks, Kotwica, Williams.