Hartlepool United need to raise their standards.
That was the stark evaluation of new boy Scott Loach after Saturday’s disappointing home loss to Dover Athletic.
The goalie, making his first competitive appearance for the club, watched on helpless as a flat Pools struggled to break down their more seasoned fifth tier opponents.
And with tomorrow night’s trip to Macclesfield Town in mind, Loach, who has operated at this level before, knows Pools must up their levels, against a side who produced an impressive opening day performance to win at Wrexham.
“A few of us knew it would be tough but that’s not it. We just never got going,” he said of Saturday.
“We have shown in pre-season, the tempo, that we are better than this.
“We know that as a team we need to raise our standards from what we produced at the weekend.
“But, that said, it is only the first game of the season, although we wanted to win.
“At least we now know exactly what to expect from opposition at this level. We have to learn from this experience.”
Many will concur with former England call-up Loach’s assessment.
It was only the first day, and this will, without doubt, be a long old season for Pools, no matter whether things go well or badly.
Either way, even though he was disappointed not to cap it with a win, Loach was honoured to play in front of a packed Victoria Park crowd.
“I was proud to make my home debut,” said the former Watford, Ipswich Town and Notts County man, who spent last season on loan at York City.
“It wasn’t the result I wanted but I will remember it until the end of my career. The fans have given us a lot of support but we need to give them something to cheer about.
“The best way to bounce back is by getting back out on the pitch. Training is one thing but the only way you can put it right is by winning games.”