Dave Jones is convinced Hartlepool United are “not that far away” from becoming a successful club.
Pools were today at Morecambe, where they were attempting to pick up points to pull away from League Two’s relegation zone.
That only comes with either them learning pretty quickly or bringing in players who have thatDAVE JONES
But Jones sees promise among his squad despite the poor results.
In fact, he is confident that, with some experienced signings this summer, Pools will be a match for anyone in the division.
“When I first came in, I asked the players if they can push for the play-off spots, let’s see what we’ve got,” said Jones.
“But the squad wasn’t deep enough, the squad was too young to ask that.
“But they are gaining experience now so certainly next season when it all comes together there’s been a tough couple of seasons which will help – first off, we must make sure we stay in the league and then look to do the other things we want to do.
“If we keep the strength we’ve already got and we add new players to help them, then we won’t be far away.
“We are not that far away.
“It’s just that final ball, that bit of quality, that right decision.
“That only comes with either them learning pretty quickly or bringing in players who have that.”
Jones pointed to the respective central defensive pairings from last Saturday’s match with promotion-chasing Portsmouth as an example of players growing with experience.
Brad Walker and Scott Harrison have been outstanding as the new Pools unit over the last nine and a half games.
Such has been the form of Harrison, the 23-year-old has been offered, and duly signed, a new and improved contract.
The double act have performed well so far but are still learning, in comparison to their opposite numbers in the Pompey rearguard, Christian Burgess and Matt Clarke.
Jones added: “The two Portsmouth centre-backs were no better than my two centre-backs – their lads were just able to make better decisions on the day.
“That’s down to experience, it was the same in midfield and their lad up front.
“They were just that little bit more advanced than our lads.
“We are doing all we can with our players – we’ve been introducing new systems, plans – but it all takes time to sink in.
“We’ve had to try to cram everything in to eight or nine weeks or whatever it’s been.”
There has been a tendency for some old habits, failings, call them what you will, to creep in and Jones will not condemn players for that.
“That’s understandable,” said the ex-Stockport, Southampton, Cardiff, Wolves and Sheffield Wednesday boss.
“Everyone does that, that’s why you need to bring in new people to help them.”