Neil Austin says he is counting down the days to his return for pre-season training after his excitement for the new campaign was heightened by the release of the fixtures.
The full-back last week penned a new deal to stay at Victoria Park and he is looking forward to getting back on the pitch after missing the closing part of last season through injury.
Now he’s back to full fitness and chomping at the bit to get back on the training ground with the 2014/15 campaign moving ever closer following Fixture Release Day.
“I always look for the first and last games and then around Christmas and birthdays – I have to say I’m not surprised at all that we’re away first and last game, and also on Boxing Day!” Austin joked.
“At the end of the day it doesn’t make a difference to us whether we’re home or away, short journey or long one, we’ll just do our best in every single one and we’re raring to go now.
“That last game at Carlisle will be a brilliant one for the fans – it will make a big difference for them that they don’t have to get up at 6am to get on the road as they’ve done in previous years for the last day.
“It could be an absolutely immense afternoon and if we can be up around the play-offs by then I am sure the fans will turn out in force and it will be an unbelievable atmosphere.”
Austin’s more immediate target is to ensure he plays his part in a more successful start to the season than the Club endured last term when they went six games without a win.
However, the 31-year-old is confident that Pools can avoid such troubles this time around and enjoy a much more fruitful opening month – starting with an away trip to relegated Stevenage.
“We were kind of playing catch-up after the start we made last season.
“The run we went on got us somewhere near the play-offs but it was always in your mind that if we’d made a better start that we could have been right up there.
“It’s important we have that in mind this time around and try to get off to a much better start and get some good points on the board early on.
“Stevenage might have high expectations this season; they’re back in League Two and I’m sure their manager and the fans will want to make a good start but maybe that puts some pressure on them.”
Austin says he is already wishing away the time between now and the start of pre-season and says he is determined to hit the ground running when the new League Two season begins.
“We’re back in eight days – not that I’m counting them or anything!
“Now the fixtures have come out and we’ve had the Capital One Cup draw it’s all getting closer and very exciting.
“I’m off to the gym now to make sure I’m ready for whatever the gaffer has in store for us!”