Pools starlet Connor Smith is hoping that a summer of hard work will give him the platform for success during his first season as a professional at Victoria Park.
While other players may have been having a well-deserved rest during May and June, the teenager was focusing himself for what he hopes can be a big campaign for him.
Smith had already made several First Team appearances before agreeing pro terms with the Club at the end of last season, exciting fans mainly from the wing though he can also play up front.
However, boss Ronnie Moore has utilised the promising youngster in a more central midfield role during the friendlies against Whitby Town on Friday and Spennymoor Town on Saturday.
And Smith, who has been with Pools since he was an Under 12, is determined to make the most of any opportunity given to him as he looks to make a name for himself at The Vic.
“I did a lot of work during the off-season in the gym and on my fitness,” he revealed.
“I was determined to give myself the best chance possible of coming back and playing well straight away and so far I am happy with how it is going.
“I have had two pretty good 45 minutes so far, so I am happy with that but I know I need to keep going and keep improving.
“It’s a different position that I’ve been put in during the two games but all I have tried to do is be positive; I should have scored at Whitby really so I was glad to get on the scoresheet at Spennymoor.
“All I can do is try to keep playing well and hopefully the manager won’t be able to ignore that and will give me my chance – then it will be down to me to take it.”
After a gruelling period at an Army Camp followed by an intense sequence of pre-season fixtures, Smith reckons the players are shaping up well ahead of the fresh campaign.
Four games unbeaten and three clean sheets have given reasons for encouragement and now the 18-year-old insists they must start stepping things up as the big kick-off edges closer.
“It’s been a really tough start to pre-season with all the work we’ve got through.
“I think we have a good fitness base; now it’s all about getting sharper and quicker on the ball – once we’ve managed that we’ll be flying.”