Nicky Devedics said he and his team-mates can’t wait to play in front of Hartlepool United’s fans again and is sure the feeling is mutual.
Pools finished last season playing in front of a near-7,000 crowd and a bumper attendance is expected tonight for the friendly against Sunderland (kick-off 7.30pm).
It’s going to be a hard test against Sunderland but we’ll give it our allNICKY DEVERDICS
Deverdics said the players have been encouraged by the show of support from fans ahead of the new season.
“It’s been a very positive reaction,” the midfielder told SportMail.
“The number of season tickets sold have been brilliant, the response has been phenomenal.
“Going down was a massive disappointment but the fans have been brilliant – you know they will always turn up and back us.
“I hope this season we can really give them something to shout about
“We’ll be looking to kick on and take this positivity in to the season, hopefully this is going to be a turnaround for the club. It will be good for the fans to see the new lads, see what they are all about.
“It’ll be good for us as players to be back at the Vic, we’re looking forward to it.
“It’s going to be a hard test against Sunderland but we’ll give it our all.
“But at the end of the day, it’s about being ready for Dover on August 5.”
Deverdics says the visit of the Black Cats is an important step forward for Pools.
Craig Harrison’s side take on Simon Grayson’s team tonight and then on Saturday they visit St Johnstone who, coincidentally, beat the Wearsiders 3-0 at the weekend.
Pools began their friendly programme with a bang, scoring 13 goals in seeing off Billingham Town and Dunston UTS, before coming unstuck 2-1 at Harrogate Town, where Deverdics scored a terrific free-kick.
“It’s been a good pre-season programme because the fixtures are starting to get tougher,” said the talented left-footer.
“There are now harder tests to come and we must be on our mettle, we need to be sharper mentally and physically.
“These games we are having will be a good gauge as to where we are for the start of the season.
“Sunderland and St Johnstone and the games from here on in are good tests.
“They are all proper games and we’re going to be on our game to make sure we don’t get battered.”
Deverdics, who has featured in all three friendlies, has been impressed by the shopping done by Harrison in the summer.
The new manager has made seven signings with the midfielder saying the newcomers have all integrated into the club successfully.
“The gaffer has brought a good group together,” said the 29-year-old.
“They are good players and everyone has settled in quickly.
“It’s well-knit bunch – we haven’t had tome to fall out with each other just yet! Famous last words!
“Everything is good, it’s a positive camp and a better atmosphere.”