Matthew Bates: Hartlepool United sack manager after nine months in charge

Matthew Bates tries to motivate the Hartlepool players
Matthew Bates joined Hartlepool as a player in 2014, making 77 league appearances

National League side Hartlepool United have sacked manager Matthew Bates after nine months in charge.

The ex-Middlesbrough defender, 31, was put in charge when Craig Harrison left in February and became permanent boss in May after guiding Pools to safety.

However defeat by AFC Fylde on Tuesday was their sixth in a row, leaving the club 13th in the fifth tier.

Hartlepool - taken over by business Raj Singh in April - say they will make a further announcement "in due course".

"The club would like to place on record its thanks to Matthew for all his hard work and, in particular, the role he played in helping steer the team clear of danger during difficult circumstances last season," a statement said.

Bates initially joined the club as a player in 2014 but has not featured in a league match since April 2017.

Speaking after what proved to be his final game in charge, Bates told BBC Tees he was "quite relaxed" about the pressure on him.

"I come in and work hard with the players to pick a team to try to get a result, and at the moment that's not happening but everything I want from my team I'm getting from the majority of the game," he said.

"It's part of football - you can tell me I'm under pressure, that's fine I understand that - whatever will be will be but I'll keep coming in and working hard."

Analysis

Rob Law, BBC Tees Sport Hartlepool United reporter

It was supposed to be another new dawn for Hartlepool United this season, with a new owner, stability off the field and better results on it. While the club have achieved two of those things, results have been hard to come by recently.

Pools tarted the season well and for once the fans were looking at a team that could mount a real challenge in the National League. However, in the last few months Pools have struggled to buy a win. They've lost their last 6 games on the bounce and are once again looking over their shoulder.

Bates took over after a spell in caretaker charge last season following the departure of Craig Harrison.

At the start of the campaign, back in August, around three thousand watched Pools win 1-0 against Chesterfield at Victoria Park, but last night just one thousand, seven hundred were inside The Vic to see Pools lose 2-1 against Fylde.

The fans were voting with their feet, and that seems to have been the final straw for new chairman Raj Singh and director of football Craig Hignett.

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