Craig Hignett says Colchester United are an “unknown quantity” as he prepares Hartlepool United for the curtain-raiser at the Northern Gas & Power Stadium.
The U’s were relegated at the end of last season and will be looking to bounce back into League One.
It’s always difficult playing a team who have been relegated, they are often an unknown quantity in this leagueCRAIG HIGNETT
But, not for the first time, the Pools boss is more interested in what his own team can do, rather than the opposition.
“It’s always difficult playing a team who have been relegated, they are often an unknown quantity in this league,” he said.
“We are at home for the first game which is pleasing.
“But I said it last season, I’m more interested in how we we are playing and doing what I want us to do.
“If we play like we can then I’m confident we can get the result.”
The Essex club have undergone major changes over the summer, including the appointment of managerial rookie John McGreal.
The former Tranmere midfielder has only taken charge of one game in the Football League when he was, briefly, caretaker last winter.
“I know John, not well, but know him from his time at Tranmere,” said Hignett.
“I watched Colchester last season at Scunthorpe, but they are a different team now, they’ve had a lot of changes.
“They’ve come down a league, but, for me, it’s about us.”
With the exception of teenage summer signing Jake Orrell, Hignett is confident he will have a full squad to pick from.
“Everyone is fit and pretty much are all available,” said the boss.
“Jake Orrell will be out – he’s missed two weeks because of his thigh so that’s too long not to have trained.
“But there should be no-one else to concern us.
“Nicky Featherstone was left out last weekend against Scunthorpe as a precaution,
“He has not trained with the ball this week but I hope he’ll join in today.”
But the fact he has a full and strong squad presents a problem in itself.
“I’m really pleased with what I’ve got available – it’s a problem I want and I’ve not really had competition for places since I’ve been here,” he said.
“But I have now.”
Some star turns and possibly new signings could be warming the bench tomorrow but Hignett says competition will make Pools stronger.
And he says the club’s team ethic must come before the individual.
“The increased competition has been a good thing for me, the problem I have is fitting them all in – and I can’t,” her smiled.
“I’ll have to disappoint some people, but it’s a long season and there are a lot of games.
“But it’s a team thing, we are really together as a squad, we have a real good spirit and everyone wants the same thing.”
Pools (from): Carson, Magnay, Richards, Bates, Nsiala, Jones, Carroll, Featherstone, Woods, Hawkins, Laurent, Deverdics, Alessandra, Amond, Paynter, Thomas, Oates, Bartlett