Fabulous February for Tuesday's visitors
Hartlepool United's fine February form has been rewarded as both manager John Hughes and defender Peter Hartley picked up the monthly npower manager and player-of- the- month awards.
Although they finished the month in 23rd place and six points adrift of safety, this run of form will have Pools' fans dreaming of a great escape.
John Hughes' men, who visit Boundary Park on Tuesday, looked destined for relegation around Christmas, but an undefeated February complete with four victories and two draws, has breathed new life into their season.
The form of local lad Hartley was instrumental in Hartlepool's upturn in fortunes.He allied his ability to read the game to his physical strength, ensuring greater defensive stability for Pools. Calm in possession, he also powered home vital headed goals in the wins over Notts County and Leyton Orient.
The two awards are determined by two separate expert panels. The manager-of-the-month award is decided by former Charlton Athletic manager Alan Curbishley, Football League Chief Operating Officer Andy Williamson, League Managers Association Deputy CEO Olaf Dixon and npower Partnership and Sponsorship Manager Katy Thomas. The player panel sees Katy Thomas joined by Wolves legend Don Goodman, BBC Sport’s Mark Clemmit and The Football League’s Head of Communications, John Nagle.
Curbishley said: “John Hughes has made a fantastic impact following his appointment at Hartlepool United. Recording fourteen points from just six games has now given his side a realistic chance of survival in npower League One.”
npower, Partnership and Sponsorship Manager Katy Thomas added:
Visit www.npower.com/fanclub or follow on twitter @npowerfootball
“It was clearly a great month for Hartlepool, both in the dugout and on the pitch. It's still going to be an uphill battle to avoid relegation, but after a month like this, I'm sure they'll be brimming with confidence and up for the challenge.”