Collins urges under-fire Hartlepool United to get a grip

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SAM Collins admits that Hartlepool United have been served a harsh reality check on the eve of the new League One season, with the skipper conceding – “we aren’t as good as we thought”, writes CRAIG HOPE.

But the 35-year-old believes that last week’s 5-0 Capital One Cup hammering at Crewe will act as a wake-up call ahead of Swindon’s visit to Victoria Park on Saturday.

“Swindon has to be a fresh start for us, we have to be ready and bounce back,” said Pools’ captain.

“There are things to work on and hopefully it gives us a kick up the backside and makes us realise we aren’t as good as we thought we were.

“There has to be a reaction from everyone – if not then you don’t deserve to be in the team.

“I’ve been about long enough to understand my job as captain, so we regroup and get the lads back together and get things right for Swindon.

“It’s a good game to start the season on. We know they will be strong and they have come up like Crewe.

“But this can be a good season for us. It would have been nice to have a run in the cup, but the league is our main concern.

“Pre-season had gone well for us, no-one was getting carried away, but we have the makings of a good team here.

“We have responded well when things have gone badly after being beaten convincingly in the past and we’ve got to do the same on Saturday.”

Meanwhile, boss Neale Cooper believes that summer signing Jonathan Franks will prove a profitable supply line for targetman Steve Howard.

“We saw at Crewe just what Jonathan can do with the ball at his feet,” said Cooper.

“We’ve said that we want to do better this season creating chances and I think Jonathan will do that.

“Steve had a couple of very good chances from his crosses on Saturday and I think that’s a combination which will do well.”