Carl Magnay believes the relegation scare will help spur the new-look Hartlepool United squad on to bigger and better things.
The 26-year-old defender is one of six new faces brought in as part of Ronnie Moore’s summer reshuffle, with the manager desperate to avoid a repeat of last year’s struggles.
And while Magnay insists the first target is to keep the club firmly away from the drop zone, he believes the confidence surrounding Pools means they should be looking up, rather than down, this season.
The Pools squad have been away from the Maiden Castle training base for the best part of two months.
But the players will return on Monday ahead of an intense pre-season schedule including nine friendly fixtures.
Moore and assistant Sam Collins have been busy on the transfer front during the off-season, while the players have been keeping their fitness levels up by taking part in boxing sessions.
And Magnay is hoping for a knockout start to the new League Two campaign.
“Hartlepool is one of the clubs that I always looked out for, being from the North East,” Magnay told SportMail.
“I was surprised at the start they made last season, but I think everyone in the country was gripped with how well the club was doing towards the end of the season.
“They pulled it round and Ronnie Moore did a remarkable job really.
“I am taking all the positives from that and we can certainly go into the new campaign full of confidence.
“With the experience they had last season, the lads they had at the club won’t want that to happen again.
“First and foremost [we need] to stay well clear of danger.
“I have been around enough to know what the expectations are around the club and we absolutely don’t want to be in the same position again.
“We are looking up, rather than down.”
Magnay was the third of Moore’s summer signings, with Rakish Bingham joining after being released from Mansfield Town and Rhys Oates from Barnsley. Trevor Carson, Harry Worley and Jake Carroll have also joined the ranks.
Former Gateshead defender Magnay can play anywhere across the back four, or in a back three.
The ex-Grimsby player, who turned down interest from League One clubs to join Pools, swept the boards at the Mariners Player of the Year awards do.