PAUL Murray is looking to hit the ground running as Hartlepool United manager with a win in his opening match at Cambridge United tomorrow.
The 38-year-old Cumbrian was confirmed as Pools boss yesterday, replacing Colin Cooper who resigned earlier this month.
Murray, who played 105 matches for the club, is the man tasked with steering struggling Pools away from the Football League trap door.
It is Murray’s first management job and he will be assisted by experienced Willie Donachie, while player-coach Sam Collins and goalkeeper coach Stephen Pears will remain at the club.
“I have always had an idea that I wanted to manage,” said Murray, who left his job as first-team coach at Oldham to join Pools.
“The last few years at Oldham have gone really well for me – I was lucky to get an opportunity there and I am grateful for that.
“This opportunity has come up now and I will grab it with both hands.
“I have to give the players that lift and me signing hopefully gives the players that lift.
“I am enthusiastic and I will probably manage the same way I played.
“Tactically, I believe I am good enough and we’ll see how it goes but we need to hit the ground running,
“With the predicament we are in we need to keep a clean sheet.
“I want to pass the ball but conscious of the other side and keep it solid, keeping it nice and tight.
“But I want to play attacking football for sure because we need to score goals – there is no doubt about it.”
Murray hailed ex-Manchester City and Scotland defender Donachie, saying: “It is very important to have Willie alongside me.
“I had a few people in mind but when I spoke to him he was the right match. He is very loyal and honest and I need questions asking of me all the time on session planning and tactics.
“He is happy to do that and it could be a good match.”
Murray also revealed he has the backing to bring in immediate reinforcements and has already compiled a wanted list and said the club will be looking far and wide for new signings, including non-league.
He said: “Willie is very experienced and local and he has been watching a bit in non-league.
“We are on the lookout for players and the chairman has been brilliant.
“I have a few in mind and I have a long list of players, which I am free to go and explore and bring in.
“This is a great opportunity.
“I have learned a lot at Oldham and will bring that to the table but also have my own views and opinions as well.
“You take the best bits and forget the bad bits.
“I have worked with a lot of managers and hopefully I can roll them into one.”
Murray made more than 100 appearances for Pools between 2010-13 before moving to Oldham, where he went on to become first team coach.
He now heads up a strong management team at the Clarence Road club.
Player coach Sam Collins, who had impressed during his spell as caretaker boss, will return to his duties with the reserve team while also pulling his boots back on for the first team.
It has also been confirmed that Stephen Pears will remain on the staff as the club’s goalkeeping coach.
Murray added: “It is very similar to Oldham, I left there all those years and then went back.
“Everyone was the same, you see old faces and it is very similar at Hartlepool.
“Some of the players are still here and that is another good sign.
“I think I will be good on the man management side, that is a big thing that I am all about, getting the players to play to their best.
“Those I don’t know I need to get to know quickly.
“I am in charge tomorrow, I have worked with Sam about the formation and there may be some changes, but I will be straight in there trying to rally the troops to get the result at Cambridge.
“Hopefully I’ll get the reaction from the players and go and get a result – particularly the clean sheet.”