Nicky Deverdics can’t wait for the ‘phoney war’ to end and the real battle to start.
The Hartlepool United midfielder got through his first 90 minutes of pre-season when he played in the battling 1-0 defeat at St Johnstone on Saturday.
Deverdics came oh so close to a second free-kick stunner at McDiarmid Park, seven days after scoring with a blockbuster of a left-foot finish at Harrogate Town.
In fact, only a brilliant Alan Mannus save high to his left prevented Deverdics from earning Pools a draw.
However, despite his 90 minutes AND his dead-ball accuracy, don’t mention the word ‘pre-season’ to the 29-year-old.
“If anyone says they like pre-season, they are lying,” he laughed.
“You get your fitness, your focus and while it’s nice being back in the team environment you don’t like pre-season.
“Once you’ve done a couple of weeks of running, you are thinking ‘where’s the season?’.
“Friendlies are all well and good but you just want the season to start.”
Deverdics must stomach at least one more friendly.
Boss Craig Harrison will send out two different XIs at the weekend, when Pools play their last two matches, at home to Middlesbrough U23 on Friday evening and then Whitley Bay away on Saturday.
Deverdics will get another 90 under his belt at one of the games
The ex-Newcastle United product has been impressed by the transfer success from Harrison.
Not only by their football prowess but by their characteristics with Deverdics placing spirit high in the list of ‘must haves’ at a football club.
“Of course it is,” he told SportMail.
“If you haven’t got that team morale then it doesn’t matter how good you are as footballers.
“It is important and it must be something the gaffer has looked at because everyone who has come in has been sound.
“All the new lads have integrated really well.
“We have one focus this season and that is getting the club back in the Football League.
“It’s as simple as that.
“Everyone is of the same mind set, from day one of us going back to work you have seen that.”