Hartlepool efforts encourage coach John Hughes

John Hughes

Hartlepool United first team coach John Hughes insists he is encouraged by the performance from his squad despite defeat by Stevenage extending their winless run to eight games.

Pools dropped to the foot of League One after the loss, and are eight points adrift with four games left to play.

"There's a way to get beat," Hughes told BBC Tees.

"If you see signs of what you're trying to do and it you take it, it gives us a base and a platform to build on."

The former Hibernian and Falkirk boss joined Pools in November following Neale Cooper's departure, charged with the task of salvaging their status in the third tier of English football.

They went seven games unbeaten during February, enough to lift them off the bottom of the table and win the Scot the League One manager of the month award.

However, that revival subsequently tailed off and the club are now facing the prospect of playing in League Two next season for the first time since 2006-07.

Fellow strugglers Bury, currently one place and one point better off, are the next visitors to Victoria Park on Saturday.