Slowly but surely Ronnie Moore’s masterplan for Hartlepool United is falling into place.
This summer represented a major opportunity to rebuild a squad that had struggled for too long and Moore has seized that opportunity - getting rid of the deadwood and high earners.
10 new faces have been signed and the vast majority have impressed.
The 4-0 win at Spennymoor Town was comfortable for Pools, the players admitting they were expecting a tougher test from the non-league side.
But it was still an encouraging performance, with Moore again playing an attacking 3-5-2 formation for the fourth time in six days.
Last year, players were shoehorned into positions - Neil Austin at wing-back for example - but Moore now has the players at his disposal to play the system with great affect.
The new players have gelled quickly, on and off the pitch, with genuine hope of a successful season to look forward to.Richard Mennear, Pools reporter
Friendlies against Billingham Town, Harrogate Railway, Whitby Town and Spennymoor were designed to get minutes in the tank.
On the training field, the past three weeks has been about endurance - building fitness and stamina - and that hard work will benefit the squad in the winter months of a long 46-game league campaign.
More technical work will be done in the coming weeks.
Corner routines, both defensively and offensively, will be drilled along with free kicks, defensive shape plus more shooting and crossing practice to compliment the fitness work the squad has been doing.
Tougher tests in pre-season are just around the corner too, starting with League One Scunthorpe United tomorrow night, Gateshead on Saturday and League One Chesterfield the week after.
Moore will play a team close to his starting 11 in those matches, with fans getting a better idea of who will make the starting line-up for the first league game against Morecambe.
And while fans won’t be reading too much into the win over Spennymoor, there is much to be positive about.
Scott Harrison and Dan Jones returned to action this weekend from injury, Rakish Bingham looked sharp, Scott Fenwick scored again, Connor Smith and Jake Carroll caught the eye.
Brad Walker looks fitter and stronger and produced four World class passes in the opening 45 minutes, spreading the play and getting the wing backs on the attack.
That will be key if Pools do play 3-5-2 and having Walker back on his game is like having a new signing.
The new players have gelled quickly - on and off the pitch - with genuine hope of a successful season to look forward to.
There is still scope to add to the squad further, with Moore keen to add a left-sided player, while central midfield could be strengthened too.
On Saturday, Spennymoor named ex-Pools winger Matty Robson, who is on trial after leaving Carlisle United, in their side.
But it was another former Poolie, Joe Tait, who should have opened the scoring, powering a header just wide of the post.
It was an early wake up call for Pools and one they listened to.
Pools took the lead in the 10th minute, Fenwick nodding home at the back post after a deep cross from strike-partner Bingham.
Ebby Nelson-Addy and Bingham forced saves from Town keeper Dan Lowson, while the stopper was at full stretch to deny Walker’s free-kick.
Pools, fluent in their passing, were cruising and added more goals after the break, following wholesale changes.
The second came in the 65th minute, triallist Fergus Bell found himself free 20-yards from goal before firing a low strike into the corner of the net.
The impressive Smith made it 3-0, 10 minutes later with the goal of the game, drifting past three defenders before expertly guiding the ball home.
Carroll - again impressive down the left - added a late fourth.
Comfortable yes, but momentum is slowly building.
Pools first half (3-5-2): Bartlett, Harrison, Magnay, Green, Duckworth, Walker, Nelson-Addy, Whittle, Giles, Bingham, Fenwick.
Pools second half (3-5-2): Denton, Richards, Bates, Jones, Oyenuga, Featherstone, Smith, Bell, Carroll, Paynter, Oates.
Goals: Fenwick (10), Bell (65), Smith (75), Carroll (89)
Spennymoor: Lowson, Griffiths, Mason, Dodds, Tait, Capper, Stephenson, Henry, Henderson, Fisher, Robson.
Subs: A. Trialist, A. Trialist, Cogdon, Taylor, Briggs, Johnson, Kenney.
Booked: Henry (34)
Referee: G. Eltringham. Attendance: 665.