JOHN Askey is pleased with how the summer has shaped up for Hartlepool United, but is still keen to add at least two more players to his ranks before the transfer deadline.

Pools' efforts to bounce back from relegation out of the EFL at the first time of asking starts on Saturday with a tricky trip to Barnet in the National League.

After the heartbreak of relegation and developments off the pitch at the end of last season, Pools faced an uncertain summer but have impressed on the pitch, beating Middlesbrough and Sunderland in pre-season.

Askey knows, however, that his side will be judged on how they fare when the real stuff starts.

"Pre-season has gone as well as we could have expected," he said.

"We haven't had too many injuries, performances have been quite good but you never know until the first game. It's usually 10 games in you can gauge where you think you'll be for the season.

"You just need that bit of luck in the first game, hopefully we'll get a win and that will kick-start the season."

On the whole, Askey is pleased with how his squad looks but says two areas in particular still need work.

"I think we've recruited quite well from what we've seen in pre-season and in training but you're never 100% sure until you see lads week in, week out," he told BBC Tees.

"But the signs have been good and we have a good balance to the squad. We could do with another couple to make the balance even better. Sometimes players become available who you don't expect to and hopefully we might get a bargain.

"I think we need a bit more pace up-front and we're probably a bit light in midfield. We only have three available in midfield going into this game."

As well as looking to bring in a couple more faces, Pools are also on the lookout for a new sporting director, with Darren Kelly set to step down next month to spend more time with his family.

Askey said: "I've had a good relationship with Darren. It's worked well.

"When you have a good working relationship it's always disappointing to see someone go. Darren has left for personal reasons and I wish him all the best. Hopefully if he does get back into football and there's something available at Hartlepool, he might consider it in the future."

Saturday's opponents are targeting promotion after losing in the play-offs last season.

Askey said: "They'll be expecting to be up there. Time will tell but there's no reason they shouldn't be with the players they've got."