Craig Hignett has only one position he wants Hartlepool United to be this season: Top.
Pools open their League Two programme with a difficult test against Colchester United at the newly named Northern Gas & Power Stadium tomorrow (kick-off 3pm).
But Hignett is thinking big this season and will not tolerate another year of toil.
“I want to be top,” declared the Pools manager. “That should be everyone’s target at the start of the season.
“I’m realistic, there are clubs in this league who have five or six times more money than we’ve got.
“But in terms of organisation and the quality we have here, I’m really pleased with what I’ve got.
“I don’t want to be looking over my shoulder and I don’t think we will be this season.
“My aim is to win the league.”
Hignett admits the clubs who have laid out the cash will be the ones to beat, but says the amount spent does not always guarantee success.
“In this division, you’d look towards the teams with money – Luton, Portsmouth, Doncaster,” he said.
“If you have a few quid, you can buy the best players, but it doesn’t always pan out like that.
“Accrington last year are a prime example of what can be done [without splashing out]. But I’m happy with what we have got – that’s not to say I’m not looking to improve us.
“We are in League Two so of course we can improve.”
Hignett is chasing a dream start tomorrow against the visiting U’s, who were relegated last season, but insists that tomorrow’s result will not dictate anything – but consistency will.
“It’s nice we are at home,” he said. “But there’s a long season to come – this is game one. It would be nice to get off to a good start, but good starts don’t necessarily mean anything, as we found last season.
“It’s the consistency which matters in this league. We will have to show our game management at times, because there will be games when we’ll need to dig out results.
“Those are the games which decide if you will get promoted or not.
“I’m confident we have enough quality to go and beat teams on our day.”
With the exception of teenage summer signing Jake Orrell, Hignett is confident he will have a full squad to pick from.
“Nicky Featherstone was left out last weekend against Scunthorpe as a precaution. He has not trained with the ball this week but I hope he’ll join in today,” said Hignett.
“I’m really pleased with what I’ve got available – it’s a problem I want and I’ve not really had competition for places since I’ve been here. But I have now.”
Pools (from): Carson, Magnay, Richards, Bates, Nsiala, Jones, Carroll, Featherstone, Woods, Hawkins, Laurent, Deverdics, Alessandra, Amond, Paynter, Thomas, Oates, Bartlett
Admission tomorrow is £18 (standing) and £20 (seats) for adults, with half price for concessions.