Hartlepool boss Chris Turner has taken the unusual step of warning fans about the likelihood of a relegation campaign for the Victoria Park club two weeks before the season itself has even started.
Turner admits that it has been tough for him to find players willing to commit themselves to the north east club, and he has so far failed to sign a single player this summer outside goalkeeper Andy Rafferty, snapped up from the lower reaches of non-league, where he was playing for Guisborough.
Although Turner has trialists on board at the time of writing – Evan Horwood, Fabian Yantorno and Paul Murray among others – it appears that money is tight for Pools signings and none has particularly shone in pre-season.
In fact, League one betting pundits note how Pools preparations for the 2010/11 campaign have been dreadful so far, with a 5-0 defeat at the hands of Leeds last weekend followed by a humiliating 2-1 reverse at Northern Counties League team Garforth Town.
All of this upheaval follows a second successive season of League One struggle for Hartlepool, and there are no suggestions that a third is not about to follow, especially given Turner’s dire warnings.
In an interview with the Hartlepool Mail following the defeat at Garforth, he said: “We need some players at this football club. We just managed to stay in League One last season with this squad of players minus seven players.
“That tells its own story. In my opinion, we need to bring in four players who are good quality players. We’re in League One, we want to stay there and we want to move up.
“But the players who played last night, on that performance aren’t good enough to sustain Hartlepool United in League One.”
All that points to a long season for supporters, which starts on August 7 when they travel to Rochdale. Losing on the opening day to a side promoted from being involved in League Two betting, and a side that has lost its best players as well, that would just make things worse!