It’s official, Hartlepool United are set for a record breaking 2015-16 campaign.
Sadly, I’m not talking about points gained or goals scored (mind, with the new signings made by Ronnie Moore that could well be a possibility).
No, I’m talking about the amount of miles Pools and their loyal band of supporters will travel in League Two.
In total, a fuel-guzzling 10,542. That is almost 1,000 more than last year thanks to Bristol Rovers, Yeovil Town, Barnet and Crawley Town all competing in League Two this year.
The league has a very southern feel to it.
And of the 23 away games, only seven are less than 200 miles away from Victoria Park, which means Moore and his squad will be enjoying a healthy number of stopovers.
A tough 10-months ahead then and Moore summed up the familiar situation facing Pools after the fixtures were released.
He said: “It looks as though we’ll have around 15 to 18 games in the new season where we will need to stop over the night before – it’s quite a lot obviously and there’s going to be plenty of travelling for ourselves and supporters during 2015-16.
“I think that first week in March sums up the travelling aspect of the new season but I think the Football League computer could have been more friendly than spitting out a midweek trip to Bristol Rovers on 1st March followed by a weekend game at Barnet on the 5th!
“I guess that would be okay if we were a mega-rich club that could stay down there after the Tuesday and travel on to Barnet but that won’t be the case for us so it will be long, hard week at a crucial time of the season as well.
“We will have to embrace that.”
Pools are well used to gruelling away trips but last season they seemed longer than ever, given the miserable football on offer for the first half of the season. But with six new signings and more to come, hopes are high for a much-improved 2015-16 campaign.
And if that is the case, then those endless hours trudging up and down the country will fly by.
Despite the travelling, there is much to look forward too, including a (very rare) home game to start with Morecambe visiting on August 8 and a home game on Boxing Day too against Notts County.
Pools fans don’t have to wait long for the first ‘Derby Day’ either - with York away the second game and games against Carlisle United at home on August 29, and away on December 28.
The season finale is away to Plymouth Argyle, a game which traditionally sees supporters don fancy dress. Mind, fans won’t mind making the long trip if there is a promotion party going on.
l Meanwhile, former Hartlepool United winger Andy Monkhouse has turned down a new deal with promoted Bristol Rovers and a return to Pools could be on the cards. Monkhouse, who was given his debut by Moore as a 17-year-old at Rotherham, almost returned in January in a swap deal with Jack Compton.
Former Hartlepool United winger Jack Compton has signed for League Two rivals Yeovil Town.