Ronnie Moore was not shy, as he promised, to make big changes to his squad in the summer.
Eleven new signings arrived at Hartlepool United.
If there comes a time if he takes my place then he’ll have my 100 per cent backing, just like I’ve had hisADAM BARTLETT
There are some we’ve barely got a glimpse of and some where the proverbial jury are currently still out.
But there are no doubts over Adam Bartlett. Not one.
Three of the 11 new arrivals were goalkeepers and Bartlett was earmarked as understudy to one of his major summer captures, Trevor Carson, with the giant teenager, Peter Denton, as the young prospect.
However, Bartlett was required to start the season after Carson was sidelined by a toe injury.
And what a start for Bartlett. The 30-year-old, rated one of the Conference’s best goalies after three superb seasons at Gateshead, has made a tremendous return to the Football League.
Bartlett produced man-of-the-match displays early on and has been outstanding throughout.
You felt for him on Tuesday when he conceded three against Bristol Rovers, having been ‘dropped in it’ by two calamitous mistakes by team-mates.
Bartlett told SportMail that he – and the side – can’t wait to try to bounce back against Luton Town tomorrow.
And the match against the Hatters has a little bit more ‘edge’ for the Newcastle United product – Trevor Carson is back.
The former Sunderland stopper, signed from Cheltenham Town where he was the player of the year, was back in training at Maiden Castle yesterday, working alongside Bartlett and goalkeeping coach, Tony Caig.
It can be a odd business the goalkeeping brotherhood. Only one can play at a time, yet the rivals all seem to be friends too.
“Trevor has been back in training all week,” said Bartlett. “Everything has been good with his re-hab and everyone’s happy with his progress.
“I expect over the next week or two that Trevor will be back in the first-team squad and I’m looking forward to that.
“It’s been a disappointing time for Trevor, being out for seven weeks.
“Alot the work had been done in pre-season, with Tony, with Trevor, myself and Peter.
“I felt we were very strong in this area going into the season and Trevor was then unfortunate to be injured, which gave me my chance.
“Trevor is back now and he’s going to be pushing me.
“It’s down to me to play well to keep him out for as long as possible and to try to keep my place.
“If there comes a time if he takes my place then he’ll have my 100 per cent backing, just like I’ve had his.”
For all the solidarity among the comrades, Bartlett will be working his socks off to keep out Carson – Moore has previously said that while the Northern Ireland international was brought in as the number one, Adam is currently the man in possession of the gloves.
The first priority for Bartlett though is helping Pools back to winning ways after Tuesday night’s set-back against Bristol Rovers.
A match against one of League Two’s form teams, Luton Town, does not look like the sort of fixture to do that in.
But Bartlett thinks otherwise.
“It’s obviously going to be tough,” he admitted. “You have to assume Luton have one of the biggest budgets in League Two on the back of the large crowds they get.
“They have a very good squad, Craig Mackail-Smith etc, so it’s going to be a hard afternoon. But following on from Tuesday, a few things have been said and a few things worked on in training.
“This is a great chance to bounce back.
“The biggest disappointment was the fact after a run of six games without a win, in all competitions, we’d stopped the rot.
“After the draw against Cambridge, we won at Yeovil and you sensed we’d turned a corner.
“It looked like we’d moved on from the bad run, but Tuesday night’s been a big reality check. We now need to man up and work for each other and work as a unit.”
Pools looked lethargic and never really recovered from a slow start.
“It did seem flat,” said Bartlett.
“We were very slow with our tempo. Bristol Rovers had travelled up on the day yet they got a big foothold in the game in that first 20 minutes – we were the home side and it should have been us making the bright start.
“But we are back at the Vic tomorrow and we have the opportunity to bounce back and put a smile back on the faces of our fans.”