Paddy McLaughlin believes Hartlepool United have got a massive point to prove after a hit and miss end to 2018.
The year as a whole was a one to largely forget for Poolies, with some relative positivity either side of the summer book-ended by administration and liquidation talk as well as a slide down the National League table.
McLaughlin, who only joined at the start of the season from promotion-chasing Gateshead, accepts this campaign so far has failed to live up to expectations.
But the midfielder, who netted his first league goal for Pools against his former club on New Year’s Day, knows Richard Money’s men have the talent to compete - it’s just about getting a level of consistency moving forward.
“Maybe we have a point to prove now,” said the 27-year-old.
“We have shown we should be a lot higher up the table than our position is at the moment. That is something everyone here is working hard to turn around.
“Who knows what could happen? Five or six games in this league can change things right around. All we need is a good run of wins, a good run of fixtures and the outlook could be so different.
“We should not get carried away, win or loss. It is about taking it one game at a time.”
McLaughlin has made 26 appearances for Pools in what has been a stop-start one for him.
Having been an ever-present in the Heed side, he’s not been a guaranteed starter having moved a few miles south.
It’s something the player is hoping to change.
“Everyone wants to start every week, don’t they?” said McLaughlin.
“I just need to make sure I show the manager I am worth a place in the team when I get given the chance.
“I have worked with him before so I knew a lot about him. I knew what to expect.
“So far has been dead on - there is a lot to look forward to in this new year.”
Home form, as is always the case, is a massive issue for Pools this season - the home reverse to Maidstone at the weekend underlined that.
One of the main reasons McLaughlin signed for Pools was the impact the Victoria Park atmosphere had on him last season. He knows Poolies can make the Vic an intimidating place to come.
“We haven’t won enough games here, certainly not as many games as we would have liked to,” he said.
“I didn’t know it was as little as six in the whole of 2018 - that’s just not good enough.
“There is a feelgood factor that comes with winning games - we saw that at the start of the season.
“If we can get on a little run of games I think we can close the gap on the teams above us this year.
“We need teams to come here and think they will struggle to get a result. We need to get a fear factor back.”