JOHN Hughes is already promising changes to his Hartlepool United side ahead of tonight’s relegation face-off with Oldham Athletic.
The new Pools boss watched in despair on Saturday as his Victoria Park bow ended in a 5-0 drubbing at the hands of Coventry City.
That performance, and the nature of the second-half collapse in which all of the goals were scored, is set to trigger a shake-up in personnel for this evening’s visit of Paul Dickov’s strugglers.
The Latics are fourth from bottom in League One – nine points clear of Pools – and Dickov labelled as “embarrassing” their display during Saturday’s 4-1 defeat to Bournemouth.
That was a word used by Hughes to describe his emotion following his own team’s hammering, and the Scot is ready to act with changes to his starting XI.
“We’ll look at it because we’ve got one or two older boys in there and we have to freshen it up,” he said.
“Andy Monkhouse is coming back from injury and I let him have a shot (on Saturday) because he will have a massive part to play if he stays injury-free.
“Big Simon Walton will have a big part to play as well, and Charlie Wyke too. So we’ll have to see what we choose to do.”
The trio he mentions were second-half substitutes at the weekend and they could all now be vying for a start this evening.
Steve Howard is also set to return from suspension to lead the attack.
Regardless of the players he sends into battle, though, Hughes wants to a see a reaction from every one of them.
“I’ve been in there as a captain and as a manager and I’ve dragged guys by the scruff of the neck to turn things around,” he went on.
“But I can’t always go in and hit them with a big stick, I need to sit back and analyse it and then improve it.
“I can do all this talking and all the work with them in training but they have to take it on board and when the curtain goes up implement it.
“It’s up to them to try and inspire each other.”