Hartley got his first glimpse of his players in action during Pools’ 2-0 defeat to Hibernian during their warm weather training camp in Portugal and was left under no illusions as to where he needed to strengthen his squad ahead of the new season which kicks off at Walsall on July 30.
Hartley was appointed new manager by the club last month and has wasted little time in beginning his overhaul of the Pools squad with no fewer than six additions having already been made, along with several high-profile exits with others also linked with moves away.
But Hartley remains calm about the situation as Pools prepare to ramp up their pre-season schedule over the coming weeks.
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“I can’t make any predictions but what we will do is work so hard to get a team that can play good football and that work hard every week and be a hard team to beat and play against,” the Pools boss explained.
“But listen, we’ve seen the stats, we didn’t do well enough last year.
“We didn’t win enough games. We conceded too many goals and we didn’t score enough goals. So we know the areas of the team we need to strengthen and make us better and get that spirit and that culture right.
“If you can do that, then we’ve got a lot of quality in the group and if we add some more quality, then who knows what we can achieve this year.”
To do that however will require plenty of hard work, something which Hartley is not immune to having already earned five promotions as a manager and gained Champions League and international experience as a player with Celtic and Scotland.
“It’s in my DNA,” said Hartley.
“Since I was born, since I kicked a football and how I want to work.
“I didn’t get to the top by fluke. I got there by hard work. If you’re going to be successful it’s not by fluke or by luck. It’s by hard work and dedication and that’s what you’ll get here.
“I’m a 24/7 manager. I love football, it’s my passion. And we’ll do everything in our power to make Hartlepool successful.”
And Hartley is hoping those standards he has developed during his time as both a player and a manager will rub off on Pools’ players this season.
Indeed, already there have been a number of players who have been quick to point out the principles laid out by the new Pools boss ahead of the season.
“[I want them to have] standards everyday they come into the building and when they’re away from the football club,” said Hartley.
“Their professionalism and doing things right [is important].
“How can we improve? How do we get better? It doesn’t matter what age you are, if you’re 23, 33, 36 I think you can always improve mentally and physically. Can you get fitter?
“So just all of the small details we’ll try and instil into the players.”