GED McNamee is the experienced head for Matthew Bates to lean on – and the Hartlepool United assistant manager is confident it’s a successful mix.
Bates appointed McNamee as his temporary right-hand man last season when he was caretaker boss.
And when Bates was appointed on a permanent basis, getting McNamee alongside him was an important move.
The former Sunderland Academy chief, who appeared briefly for Pools in the early 80s, can see the potential in Bates the manager.
The pair first came into contact when Bates was attending the Manchester United school of excellence in Durham.
“Matthew has taken to the role well. I’ve known him a long time,’’ reflected McNamee. “You never know how he would take to it. But he was in at the deep end last season, he’s resolute and thick skinned. A lot may not have wanted it.
“He watches games, we talk about the game and he has played at a high level. He is very thorough in preparation and that he is young he is still learning.
“Come Thursday and Friday he has looked at the opposition and we transfer that onto the training pitch. He has very good qualities as a manager.’’
With Ross Turnbull also part of the coaching team, Bates has two trusted lieutenants alongside him.
They have made a positive start to the National League season and hopes are high of end of season success.
McNamee added: “I like to, and want us to, encourage the players to get the ball down and pass it. We want to get around them and want them to express themselves on the ball.
“You see a determination and desire from a young age with Matthew. He debuted at a very young age, which shows a determination to progress and do well. That determination never leaves you, even when your career as a player is over.
“He knows when to encourage, when to ruffle a few feathers but he’s not a ranter and raver and speaks to players like you expect them to.
“He puts his message across well. He demands high standards and training shows that. We don’t drag it out for long, we plan and go bang, bang, bang and as long as quality and tempo is good we are happy.’’
And McNamee admitted: “We have to be careful with training and can’t have them out there too long. It’s a tough league, a lot of games and that intelligence is important.
“I’m there to help him – calm down, or he tells me to calm down. It’s a good fix.’’
Pools striker Luke James has withdrawn from the England C squad for tomorrow’s game at Leyton Orient with an ankle injury suffered at the weekend.