Trevor Carson hopes Craig Hignett will take the core of Hartlepool United’s squad into next season.
Pools ended the season – which finished yesterday – in the healthy position of 16th in League Two.
There is a good core of lads here, no big-time Charlies, no big egosTREVOR CARSON
Hignett’s side turned the season around in spectacular fashion in the spring and Pools four-time player of the year can kick on again in August.
“We are close-knit so I do hope we stay together and we are not completely ripped apart, but that’s the manager’s decision,” said Carson.
“There is a good core of lads here, no big-time Charlies, no big egos.”
Thus far, there has been little movement on the squad front at Victoria Park.
Many of the side’s key players have extended their stays – Carson included.
Players such as fellow keeper Adam Bartlett, Carl Magnay, Jake Carroll, Matthew Bates, Nicky Featherstone and Billy Paynter are also staying, though midfielder Michael Woods or defender Michael Duckworth have yet to pen deals.
Hignett’s only fresh signings to date have been young prospects Ben Dudzinski, Ben Pollock and James Martin.
But Carson says there is anticipation in the Pools squad ahead of the return to work at the end of next month.
“We’re looking forward to pre-season already and not just because we’ve been told we might be going somewhere quite nice!” smiled the keeper.
“I think we’ll put together a good squad and have a right good go next season.
“The last few games of the season have been defeats, but we’ve shown up well before that.
“Everything is positive and everyone can’t wait.”
Carson had hoped to have had his gloves on in June for the European Championships, but he did not quite make the final cut of the Northern Ireland squad.
But the 28-year-old, from Downpatrick, says as a proud man from Northern Ireland he is excited for Euro 2016 in France.
“I said if I wasn’t going there as a player, I’d be there as a fan,” he explained.
“It’s an exciting time to be a Northern Irishman and everyone in my country is looking forward to it.
“It’s an unbelievable achievement – you only have to look at the odds, we are rank outsiders, but that won’t bother the fans.
“The last time we qualified for a major tournament was 1986 so there is a generation who has not known anything like this.
“Fans are getting there however they can, it’s something to enjoy and make the most of, it could be another 30 years before we get to go again.”
Northern Ireland saw off Belarus 3-0 in their last home match before Euro 2016 on Friday night, thanks to goals by Kyle Lafferty, Conor Washington and Will Grigg, and now face Slovakia on Thursday.