You can’t win the league in your first eight games, but you can certainly lose it.
That’s the view of Hartlepool United stand-in skipper Liam Noble.
Pools have been beaten just once in their opening eight games in the National League, and are finely poised, just two points and potentially one win away from the fifth-tier summit.
Noble knows this is only the start for his side, but’s he’s delighted Pools are not playing catch-up.
“You have to look at it. It probably is too soon to check it out but we all look,” he said of checking out the division standings.
“Put it this way, I’d rather be where we are than where the team was this time last year.
“We have only lost one in eight.
“You can’t win the league in your first eight games but you can lose it.
“It is a long way back if you are 10 to 15 points behind those at the top.”
Reflecting on Saturday’s victory at Westleigh Park, against a previously unbeaten Havant, on home turf, at least, Noble was pleased with character shown by the players, yet again.
“To a man, I think we stood up,” he said.
“To win the game in the way that we did - in the last minutes - shows the character we have within the group.
“We have four wins out of four but that counts for nothing on Tuesday. We want five out of five.
“It is a great start, but that is all it is.
“It is a long old game in this division.
“We have 38 more games to go so we know nothing is won yet. All it is is a start.”
Noble knows his side were far from at their best this weekend - he’s hoping for better v Barrow at the Super 6 Stadium tomorrow.
“We have ground it out,” said former Notts County, Forest Green and Sunderland man Noble.
“We have played miles better than that and won.
“But that is what happens in football - sometimes you have to just get the result. It’s a results business at the end of the day.
“We know, though, that we cannot play like that every week. With every respect to Havant, if we play like that against better teams we will get beat. We know that. We have had words about it and we will improve.
“We need to start taking our chances so we are not hanging on.
“But you need to come to places like this and get points. We did that.”