Nicky Deverdics and the Hartlepool United players started the final week with smiles on their faces.
Pools came under the gaze of the media yesterday when they took part in a series of team-building activities at the Racecourse in Durham.
But after the fun came another F-word – focus.
“The boys are all focused,” said Deverdics.
“We have one target this season and that’s to get promoted. All the boys are on board with that.”
Pools kick off the season this Saturday with a home match against Dover Athletic, the club Deverdics left last summer to move to Victoria Park.
And the 29-year-old said a good start is vital if Pools are to go up from the National League at the first time of asking.
Deverdics says the mood is buoyant at the training ground with the players raring to go now pre-season is coming to a close.
“This pre-season has lasted forever, like they always seem to do!” he smiled.
“We’re ready, we had a good win against Middlesbrough, it’s important to win so you can go into the season on a positive note.
“Everyone’s focus, mindset will be on a very good start and carrying that on.
“It’s about making sure everyone is right and we’ve prepared properly.
“There are a lot of games in the first month and a half, something like eight or nine league games.
“So if you get off to a good start, that puts you in good stead for the rest of the season.”
Deverdics says he is not sure what to expect from the Dover team, even though he spent a month at the the Kent club on loan last term, not to mention two seasons with them previous to his switch to Pools.
The midfielder, who scored a stunning free-kick goal in pre-season, said he is excited about the prospect of Saturday’s curtain-raiser.
“I’m expecting a really good atmosphere – our fans seem really upbeat for the new season,” said the Geordie.
“We’ve made some good signings and it’s not been a bad pre-season, there have been a lot of positives.
“As far as Dover are concerned, while I know the gaffer and staff, I don’t know a lot about the team any more.
“I know the way they’ll want to approach the game, we’re under no illusions about how tough it is going to be.
“The games in this division are going to be tough, we’re going to have to be on our mettle and if we’re not we could get punished.
“The boys know it will be a good game, it will be a test, we’re going to have to come out of the blocks firing if we’re going to get a result.”
Deverdics has been one of the players to stay in a summer of movement at the Vic – both in and out.
All the new players have settled in smoothly and the skilful left-footer says the spirit and balance in the squad has impressed him.
That spirit was evident yesterday by the banks of the River Wear, where the players were indulging in their team-building games.
“We have a fairly big squad and the gaffer has brought in some very good players to the ones we already had,” he said.
“There is a lot of competition for places and good competition.
“This was obviously light-hearted, this is more for team spirit to make sure the camp is relaxed and ready in this final week.
“We’ve done a bouncy castle assault course type of thing where you finished it by throwing a tennis ball in a bucket.
“There was a mental test as well which was interesting because the group isn’t the brightest in the world!
“Obviously you want everyone to go into the season on a high with everyone in good spirits.
“This has not been a bad idea.”