John Hughes vows to battle on at Hartlepool

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John Hughes has rejected suggestions he could quit Hartelpool United following their relegation and has vowed to return the club to League One next season.

Hughes joined Hartlepool from Livingston in November, but they were relegated to League Two on Tuesday when fellow strugglers Oldham Athletic secured a win over Yeovil Town. After giving the Victoria Park outfit hope by steering them to a seven-game unbeaten run in January and February, time eventually ran out on Hughes and his team after they subsequently went eight matches without a victory.

The former Falkirk and Hibs manager is adamant he is up for the challenge of turning the club’s fortunes around. He said: “It’s bitterly disappointing to be relegated. I really feel for the supporters because they’ve played their part by staying with the team. What we have to do is stay united, stay together, bang our heads together and do what’s best for Hartlepool.”

Asked whether there was truth in rumours he could quit following relegation, he added: “You can’t do that. You get relegated and you walk away? No, that’s not in my DNA, certainly not.

“I want to put Hartlepool where it belongs and that’s playing its football in League One, if not higher. I’m 100 per cent still up for the fight.”