MICK Wadsworth sees no reason why Hartlepool United cannot be League One’s surprise package this season and “kick a few backsides” along the way.
Pools get their campaign under way at play-off semi-finalists MK Dons tomorrow afternoon (kick off 3pm).
It will be the first time that Wadsworth has been at the helm from the outset of the season, the first-team coach having been thrown the reins at the back end of August last time around.
In that time he has put his own stamp on the squad, shipping out six and bringing in five over the course of this summer.
Still, though, the view from afar is that of perennial relegation strugglers, evidenced by the odds of 2/1 for Pools to slip out of the third tier.
But Wadsworth has far bigger plans than simply staving off the threat of the drop and believes his side could make a few outside observers sit up and take notice over the next nine months.
“There’s normally a surprise package pushing for the play-offs, let’s hope it’s us this time,” he told SportMail on the eve of the big kick off.
“Would it be a shock if we did? I don’t know, it wouldn’t be to us.
“We are a small club and get neglected at times when you compare us to the likes of Huddersfield, Charlton and Sheffield Wednesday.
“The bookies have us down at the bottom and that’s normally the case. Perhaps it’s disrespectful based on stats of previous seasons but it means nothing does it?
“We were favourites to go down last season and we did OK, not fantastic, but better than expected and we have made strides to make it better and that’s all we can do.”
He added: “But part of the fun and challenge is to make us do well, fight against the odds, punch above our weight and make an impression - you need a bit of a siege mentality.
“Our hope, first and foremost, is to do better than last year.
“But I really think we will kick a few backsides along the way and will surprise a few people.”
Full story in Friday’s Mail