Throughout the summer, Mark Carruthers of NonLeagueDaily.com has been giving us some insight as part of studies in to the opponents we’ll face in this season’s National League.
After allowing Mark to provide his uncut verdict on our opposition, we thought it was only fair to offer him the opportunity to have his say on us as well – and so he has…
“There is no doubt in my mind that Hartlepool United will be amongst the favourites for promotion this season.
“The aftermath of a soul-destroying relegation has been dealt with after a very positive summer under new manager Craig Harrison.
“The new Pools boss has put together a strong squad, full of experience and most importantly full of players that know the National League inside-out.
“The likes of Ryan Donaldson, Blair Adams, Jake Cassidy and Scott Loach are all smart additions to the squad and will play key roles this season.
“However, holding on to players like Padraig Amond and Carl Magnay will prove to be equally important.
“The key player in my eyes will be Jack Munns.
“His dynamic, incisive style will give Pools a new dimension this season and he will become a pivotal player for Harrison throughout the next nine months. He can be the difference in tight games, the one that creates a little bit of magic to nick a narrow win in a key game.
“Many will say Harrison himself has little knowledge of the National League but having spoken to the man himself, I can say that there are few that have more knowledge without having actually competed in non-league’s top tier.
“This attempt at positivity should all come with a warning.
“At some point, reality will set in. Whether it is an unlikely away defeat, or a frustrating draw at The Vic. It will happen because the National League is an unforgiving division and reputations count for nothing.
“Look at York City last season, there is a big warning sign if ever one was needed.
“It will be a season of hard-slog, a season of needing to stick together as supporters, players and as a club.
“No team has ever ran away with a National League title. It takes grit, determination, togetherness and a bit of luck.
“But looking at the Pools squad they have the characters and seemingly the determination to have a good go at promotion this season.
“I have said Tranmere Rovers are my favourites to win the league, but I wouldn’t put Pools too far behind them.”