CONFIDENT Sam Collins is in no doubt his Hartlepool United side can continue to climb up the table.
Pools rose from the bottom of Sky Bet League Two thanks to a 2-1 win at Exeter City on Saturday, leading the caretaker boss to praise his “awesome” players.
Goals from Michael Woods and top scorer Charlie Wyke secured the three precious points.
The Grecians, who scored in the 80th minute to set up a nervy finale, had won their last four league games, but Pools held firm to come away with a crucial victory.
Beaming Collins said: “We are off the bottom, which is so important for everyone connected with the club.
“We can start climbing the table, no doubt about it and if we can play like we did against Exeter we will.
“I’m proud of the players – every single one of them was awesome and they showed great enthusiasm.
“We got better as the game went on, kept counter-attacking time and time again, opened them up and could have scored more.
“We had to hold off a bit of pressure – they had a header at the end – but we handled the situation well from them getting back into the game.
“Overall I am delighted and we scored two superb goals. I was nearly on the pitch at times, it’s hard not playing and it’s not very good for your health on the touchline.!
The win saw Pools climb three places to 21st.
Collins, who is looking after the team alongside Stephen Pears, has impressed since taking over following Colin Cooper’s resignation.
How long he remains in charge remains up in the air, with Graham Kavanagh and Mark Venus both in the running to take over on a short-term basis.
For now, Collins is just focusing on working the players hard to get the best out of them.
“I enjoy winning games as a player and I had the same feeling [Saturday], but the feeling at the end was brilliant,” Collins added.
“I’ve not slept well for a week as I’ve thought all week about what I would want to hear from a manager as a player.
“I have played under a lot of managers and taken a lot from them all.
“I’ve thought not just about speaking to the players but also when we train, how we travel, when we eat, everything goes through my mind.
“The staff have been brilliant though, the fitness coach and physio have been there for me all the time.
“The kit man is sick of my voice, me ringing him up trying to organise things.
“But as a player I was always organised and the demands I’m putting on players, they will find it hard but they will be better for it.”
EXETER: Pym, Davies, Woodman, Ribeiro, Oakley, Riley-Lowe (Nichols 61), Butterfield (Noble 72), Grimes, Keohane, Bennett, Cummins (Wheeler 61). Subs not used: Hamon, Tillson, Jay, Watkins. Goal: Ribeiro 81
HARTLEPOOL: Flinders, Duckworth, Austin, Harrison, Jones, Miller, Bates, Woods, Hawkins (Franks 90), Wyke, Brobbel. Subs not used: Holden, Walker, Richards, Smith, Atkinson, Green. Goals: Woods 49, Wyke 66
Ref: Darren Sheldrake (Surrey).