Caretaker boss Matthew Bates proud as Hartlepool United clinch safety

Former Sunderland defender Louis Laing celebrates bagging Pools' winner last night. Picture by Frank Reid
Former Sunderland defender Louis Laing celebrates bagging Pools' winner last night. Picture by Frank Reid
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Matthew Bates is proud his players managed to secure Hartlepool United’s National League future last night, but he said that it is nothing to celebrate.

A Louis Laing header in the opening 45 was enough to see Pools beat Leyton Orient at Victoria Park.

In doing so, it moved Bates’ men out of reach of the fifth tier’s bottom four.

Bates understands that this kind of ‘achievement’ is nothing to go overboard about, even though he is glowing with pride at having managed to achieve what slipped through his grasp this time last year.

“It feels good,” said the former Middlesbrough defender.

“It is a big relief. A big weight off the shoulders.

“I am proud of the club and the players.

“I don’t want to go over the top about it, but it is a good achievement.

“Since I have taken charge, I am proud of the reaction of the players.

“We were even money to go down when I took over, we were fourth favourite.”

This is a small feather in the cap for Bates in his first real stint in the dugout, but the manager thinks most of the credit for stopping up must go to those on the park.

“I think people underestimate what the lads have had to put up with in that dressing room,” said Bates.

“This is a massive pat on the back for them.

“We were worried we would struggle with the size of the squad, but the lads have just got on with it, played through injuries and other things.

“No one has moaned about anything. Massive credit to them.”