Hartlepool United have got the character and quality to be in the League Two promotion fight, according to Lewis Alessandra.
But the summer signing admits they need to cut out the point-costing errors, otherwise they’ll be staring over their shoulders rather than aiming for the stars.
As things stand, Pools, who sit 13th in the fourth tier table, are only three points off the play-off spots, which since day one this season has been the target set within the dressing room and the dugout.
But after 13 games they are also only four points above Barnet, who occupy the second of the relegation places.
It’s a precarious position, admits Alessandra, who netted his second goal of the season in Saturday’s thrilling 3-2 defeat at unbeaten Carlisle.
“In a different world with minor tweaks we would be challenging in the promotion slots,” said the forward.
“We should at least be in the play-offs with the way we have been playing.
“The frustrating thing is that I don’t think we are too far away. We need to start cutting out the errors.
“We need to start making the right decisions in the right areas.
“If we can do that then we will be fine this season.
“The worry, of course, is that we don’t start making these decisions it might be too late.”
It was individual errors that ended up being so costly for Pools at Brunton Park.
And while it is easy to point the finger, Alessandra believes as a squad Pools have to improve.
But while some may be wondering whether Craig Hignett’s men have the character to turn disappointing draws and defeats into deserved wins, Alessandra is in no doubt.
“This is one of the best changing rooms I have ever been in,” he said. “Every player is singing off the same hymn sheet. There are no lazy people in there.”
Carlisle: Gillespie, T Miller, Raynes, Gillesphey, Grainger, Kennedy, Jones, Joyce, Adams (Asamoah 70), Ibehre (Wyke 58), S Miller, Asamoah (Brisley 83). Subs not used: Ellis, Devitt, Lambe, Crocombe. Sent Off: S Miller (56). Booked: S Miller, Grainger. Goals: Ibehre 20, Grainger 68, Raynes 79.
Hartlepool Utd: Carson, Richards (Paynter 60), Harrison, Nsiala, Carroll (Woods 83), Hawkins, Laurent, Donnelly, Alessandra, Amond, Thomas. Subs not used: Bartlett, Deverdics, Orrell, Martin, Heardman. Goals: Alessandra 66, Amond 75. Att: 7,333.
Darren Bond (Lancashire).