SCOTT Flinders concedes that Hartlepool United still need to rid themselves of a “relegation hangover”.
Pools boss Colin Cooper inherited a demoted side during the summer and has since tried his best to banish all talk of last season’s woes.
But a sorry start to the campaign which is yet to yield a league win has caused some concern on the terraces at Victoria Park.
That is a worry which is also felt in the dressing room on Clarence Road.
And, ahead of tomorrow’s visit of bottom club Accrington Stanley, Flinders told SportMail: “I’d say in the majority of games we’ve been the better side, we’re just not getting the end product.
“It’s a similar story to last season and maybe there is a hangover from last year after being relegated.
“We’re just waiting for that little bit of luck in front of goal.
“We know we can produce performances like we did against Bradford (won 5-0 in Johnstone’s Paint Trophy).
“We’re just a little bit anxious when it gets to the final third.
“When we do get that first goal I’m sure it will give us the confidence to go on.
“When we go behind there is still that anxious feel and nerves begin to creep in at the back.
“But it’s still very early days.
“We’re gelling as a young team and we’re getting to know each other.
“The gaffer is doing everything he can, it’s just not clicking at the moment.
“But I’m sure that one good result will pick us up and we’re desperate for that to come this weekend.”
It is in the final third of the pitch where problems remain and James Poole’s injury-time consolation during last weekend’s 2-1 defeat to Wycombe Wanderers was Pools’ first goal in nine hours.
At the other end, however, things are coming together.
A new-look back four of Michael Duckworth, Jack Baldwin, Christian Burgess and senior pro Neil Austin have conceded just four times in the past six matches.
And Flinders added: “The lads at the back have been brilliant.
“Three of them are still so young but, together with Aussie, they’ve really got the look a good unit.
“Jack is still only 20 but is probably one of our more experienced players now, while Michael has been absolutely brilliant since coming in.”