Craig Harrison believes Hartlepool United’s “good working environment” will be key to the club making progress out of the National League.
Harrison was the manager who picked up the pieces after Pools suffered relegation from the Football League in May.
Pools are currently just four points outside the play-off places in the fifth tier, going into today’s vital clash with Macclesfield Town at Victoria Park (kickoff 3pm).
Harrison did not hold back with the players after last Saturday’s 3-0 defeat at Ebbsfleet, delivering a dose of Gateshead vernacular.
But the spirit has been good at the Racecourse training ground this week as Pools plot a bounce-back against the Silkmen.
“There’s a good spirit here, a good atmosphere,” said the boss.
“I can’t talk about what has gone on in the past at the club, but I think it’s important to have a good environment.
“Don’t get me wrong, sometimes you have to be taken out of your comfort zone.
“And there are times people might need to be told things and told in an aggressive manner, but that’s football and they have to take it like men and they do.
“But I do believe in a good working environment.”
Harrison says that having a squad who are all singing from the same hymn sheet.
The majority who ‘wanted out’ left in the close-season while Padraig Amond was sold to Newport County ahead of the closure of the transfer window,
“You get the best out of people when they are here through choice,” he stressed.
“We want people here who want to be here.”
Harrison says evidence of the strength of spirit in the camp came on Tuesday at the Durham HQ.
The manager and his assistants, Paul Jenkins and Matthew Bates, had already watched the match at Ebbsfleet back ... several times.
But they showed the contest to the squad on Tuesday afternoon and he was pleased with the reaction.
“Footballers aren’t known for staying late after training,” he said.
“But on Tuesday they left five o’clock-plus after a very receptive session.
“No-one wanted to leave and there was no looking at watches looking to get away.
“It was an open forum for people to contribute and everyone got involved.
“We all have to take responsibility and as I’ve said hundreds of times before this is an honest bunch of lads.
“No-one comes in and goes ‘who cares we got beaten’ type-thing.
“They all work hard and they all care.
“They will give their all, sometimes the performance might not be the level they’re capable of, but they do try.”
Three points will be vital today against the Silkmen following the 3-0 loss at Ebbsfleet which moved them back into the bottom half of the division.
Harrison says the spirit and positive attitude must be transferred to the field.
“We have to make sure the mindset is right.” he said. “There’s a good group here who can beat anyone, but we need to ‘turn up’.”