Nicky Featherstone believes Hartlepool’s National League woes of last season have proved the perfect lesson for their current campaign.
The midfielder believes the Pools are 2018/19 are much more ‘streetwise’ than they were at this level last time out.
And for that reason it is no shock to see them now grinding out results in games, the Pools of old would probably have come up short.
Ahead of this weekend’s trip to Havant & Waterlooville’s Westleigh Park, Featherstone said: “The problem last year was that we were playing well against the bigger teams but struggling against the smaller ones.
“This year I feel like we can go anywhere and get something.
“It is about dealing with the challenges better this year.
“I don’t think many of us had really played non league football before last year - I know it was a real eye-opener for me.
“Going to some of them places was a shock but it was no excuse. We are paid to play football and should have done better than we did.
“It has taken us time. It has taken a lot of clubs a lot of years to get out - it is not easy.
“You see teams like Grimsby, Lincoln, Tranmere all come down and stay down. It’s not an easy division to play in and get out of.
“Consistency is what gets you out of this level and it feels like we are heading towards that.”
There’s been a distinct change around the newly named Super 6 Stadium this season.
As well as some new faces in the dressing-room, change has been the order of the day from top to bottom at Pools, from the dugout to the boardroom
And the proof of the pudding seems to be in the eating, says Featherstone, as results continue to materialise on the park.
“It has been very difficult for us over the last three or four years,” said Featherstone.
“I don’t know what it is this time around. This year it feels a bit different.
“The stability off the field helps and the manager has brought in the right type of lads, which makes a massive difference.
“It (the Super 6 Stadium) can be a tough place to play at times, especially when things are not going well.
“This year we have a group of players who are not fearful of the fans when things are not going right.
“I just feel like the quality has been there, the character was maybe not.
“There is a togetherness. The lads all get on and everyone is buying into what the gaffer wants.”
On the injury front Pools are set to again be without skipper Andrew Davies this weekend.