Rob Jones may be in the twilight years of his career but he is still looking to make a big impact at Hartlepool United next season.
The 36-year-old centre-back has agreed a deal to extend his stay at Victoria Park, with the experienced campaigner in good shape ahead of the new season.
Jones, who became Craig Hignett’s first signing in March, will also take up a coaching role with the academy.
“I am really happy to be extending my stay,” Jones told SportMail.
“It was agreed at the end of last season, me and the manager have both been busy but it was there to sign and I’m pleased it is now done and I can focus on getting ready for pre-season next Wednesday.
“I am coming to the latter stages of my career but I still feel fit and strong and don’t feel my age.
“Hopefully I can enjoy a good season.
“The fact I have been at the club for a couple months was a big factor in me wanting to continue; it is a good, well-run family club with a great atmosphere.”
The veteran defender helped steer Pools away from the danger of relegation last season.
Jones starred on his debut in the 3-1 win at Barnet but then endured a frustrating end as he battled minor niggles.
“Frustration is the word to sum up the last five or six weeks of last season,” added the towering 6ft 5ins defender.
“I was really pleased with that performance at Barnet but I hadn’t played or trained much before I came - I hadn’t trained for nine weeks - so it was difficult to get back to the sharpness levels of the other players.
“You start pre-season on an even keel though and I am looking forward to getting started.
“We showed in the final weeks we can mix it with the bigger teams in the division.
“Hopefully we have a good mix with the new signings and the players we have retained and we can look to get off to a good start.
“The new signings are all a bit younger than me but I have heard a lot of good things and it bodes well.”
Optimism is building after the signings of highly-rated duo striker Padraig Amond and attacking midfielder Nicky Deverdics.
But experienced Jones is wary of adding too much pressure before a ball has even been kicked.
“You have to take stock of what we do in pre-season, how the signings settle in and then go from there,” added Jones.
“We are at home first [to Colchester United], which helps, and it is one we will all look forward to.
“We have a lot of work to do before then though.
“The season is very long but provided we all stick together then we will be okay.”
Hignett added: “To have him around the place is a bonus for me because he’s a proper professional and the young lads in our group can learn a lot from him.”