Hartlepool United’s days as relegation fighters are over.
So says new boss Dave Jones who believes it is time Pools started to look up instead of down.
For the fifth year in a row, Pools are embroiled in a battle for survival – while there are six teams below them, they are only five points above the drop zone.
But Jones says enough is enough as his side, in 18th, take on 15th-placed Yeovil Town at the Northern Gas & Power Stadium tomorrow (kick-off 3pm).
A home win could lift Pools up one spot, which while hardly a gargantuan leap would please Jones who is desperate to bring a winning ‘mentality’ to the Vic.
“Points are vital,” said the boss. “We want to get up the table as far as we possibly can. You never give up on anything – we are looking up.
“I’ve not come here to drop a level, I’m here to get Hartlepool to rise to the level we want to be.
“It’s about getting the whole mentality of the football side right – that’s why the chairman brought us in.”
Jones enjoyed a 2-0 victory over Stevenage in his first home match and the fans left happy having seen only their fourth success of the season.
The 60-year-old is after more of the same against the Glovers.
“The fans have been brilliant – it’s not just this season the times have been tough,” said Jones.
“Every year seems to have been trouble, you have to take your hat off to them.
“We have a good home support and a good number of season ticket holders, something a lot of clubs would cry out for.
“Nothing would give me greater pleasure than getting supporters coming to games expecting to win rather than hoping.”
He admits that could “take time” but added “that’s why I’ve been brought in to try to do.”
Jones wants everyone, players, staff and fans, to “buy in” to his dream and believes when that happens Pools can be a team performing in the higher echelons of League Two.
“I want teams to be frightened to come to Hartlepool and play here,” he said.
“If they are then you have half an edge on them.
“It’s been too long this cycle here of fighting relegation – it must be absolutely horrible.
“I’ve not been in that situation and I don’t want that here.
“If you are ugly, you don’t want to be keep getting told you are ugly, do you?
“On the same score, if you keep getting told you are relegation fighters then you start to believe it.
“I spoke to someone the other day about a player and his first words were ‘what the hell are you doing at Hartlepool? Are you mad?’.
“That’s the perception some people have of Hartlepool. I’m here to change that.
“From the first day I walked in, I’ve had nothing but good vibes, the people here want to do it.”
Jones will therefore see a home win over Yeovil as the first step on the ladder.