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Keith Curle says Hartlepool are ‘work in progress’ after securing draw on debut

Keith Curle wants to get Hartlepool bouncing again (Martin Rickett/PA)
Keith Curle wants to get Hartlepool bouncing again (Martin Rickett/PA)

Hartlepool boss Keith Curle feels there are plenty of reasons for optimism despite watching his new side drop to the foot of Sky Bet League Two after a goalless draw with Gillingham.

Curle, who took over on Tuesday following Paul Hartley’s exit, had hoped to quickly guide Pools to a first win of the season to boost the Suit Direct Stadium crowd.

The former Northampton and Carlisle manager’s team created the best openings but failed to find the net on an afternoon which felt like an opportunity lost.

Hartlepool winger Wes McDonald created the best opening of the first half when Ryan Law headed his effort off the line.

After the hour Gills goalkeeper Glenn Morris denied Mikael Ndjoli and Clarke Oduor before Mohammed Sylla clipped a post with a flick at the end.

He said: “It’s a clean sheet. We started the game nervously, with little bits coming up short. We tried to be a little too precise.

“Overall, goalkeeper Ben Killip has had one cross and one half shot to deal with.

“I have walked into a football club which hasn’t been gaining results, it’s been conceding goals and not scoring enough. Firstly, we can be solid as a team, be difficult to play against and then you can build.

“I don’t look at the league table, it has no bearing on my mindset, today could have been three points and should have been.

“I am a coach and I have been a player. I understand what the players are going through. They need clarity and simplicity.

“Today the effort, desire and application was there; a little bit more quality was needed but it is a work in progress.

“I know I can get this place bouncing. I can get more people in but we have to respect them, they want desire and the blood and guts. They want a winning mentality.”

Gillingham boss Neil Harris was satisfied to have left with a point in the end, accepting that Hartlepool were always going to have a bit of a lift following the appointment of a new manager.

The Gills, who have only won once this season and are yet to win away, failed to record a shot on target and keeper Glenn Morris made fine saves to keep the home side out.

Harris said: “It was always going to be a hard task with a new manager getting a bounce, that was going to make it more difficult.

“First half we handled it really well, we played some good football at times. Second half the wind dictated a bit more, so we struggled to get out.

“When you are not on the front foot then you have to make sure you don’t concede, Glenn made a couple of really good saves.

“I think Hartlepool looked more threatening even though I think we got in better areas at times. I am delighted with the clean sheet, especially for the fans here after the cost and their time to get here.

“It was important we didn’t lose today. Sometimes you have to take your point and move on.

“We did get into some good areas. We fell short creativity wise. I have to believe in our players and I will keep believing in them.”