TOMMY Miller has praised the work of Sam Collins during his time as caretaker boss of Hartlepool United.
Collins took over the reins on an interim basis after former boss Colin Cooper resigned from Pools after the 3-0 home defeat to Carlisle United at the start of the month.
Miller was impressed with Collins’ approach to the role and said the players let him down badly in the 3-1 defeat to Accrington Stanley on Tuesday night.
“The training had been good, he kept everyone on their toes and his organisation has been brilliant,” ex-Sunderland midfielder Miller said.
“The information we received on opposition teams has been first class.
“We let him down against Accrington.
“Everyone has to lift their performance – and I include myself in that – we all have to roll our sleeves up.
“The results have not been good enough.”
One player who won’t be involved at Cambridge United tomorrow is Middlesbrough utility man David Atkinson.
The 21-year-old Boro youth has returned to his parent club after failing to play a single minute for Pools during a loan spell.
Atkinson was signed by Cooper on an initial month-long deal and Cooper had originally hoped he would be at the club until Christmas but he has now returned to Boro.
Sam Collins, speaking at the pre-match press conference, said the loan deal hadn’t worked out.
Huddersfield’s Matt Crooks, who signed on loan for a month this week, could be in line for a start against Cambridge though.
Crooks is a midfielder by trade but came on up front in the defeat at Accrington after Charlie Wyke went off with a sickness bug.
Collins said: “Matt did okay at times, he had one really good chance.
“It’s not his natural position and I didn’t really want to bring him on early as he played an Under-21 game the day before for Huddersfield but with Charlie going off we had to.
“He did alright at times and will get better, as he is a good player.”
Midfielder Miller knows Crooks well from his time playing at Huddersfield and he said he “felt” for the loanee against Accrington.
Miller added: “He was thrown into it a little bit and we had only met him on the bus.
“He was a midfielder when I was at Huddersfield so whether centre-forward is his favoured position I’m not sure.
“But we have to get better quality into our forwards.”