Jamshedpur FC captain Peter Hartley believes his team will go into the new Hero Indian Super League (ISL) season as a stronger unit compared to last season despite the loss of talismanic forward Greg Stewart who joined Mumbai City FC in the summer.

Jamshedpur FC will also be without head coach Owen Coyle who left at the end of last season, but new head coach Aidy Boothroyd comes in with a great pedigree.

“You can say everyone has improved and we have lost Greg, Owen, but in my opinion, we have become stronger in every position,” Hartley told The Times of India in an interview.

“Greg got us 10 goals last season, now it's up to us as a team. We may not have a player who will give us those 10 goals individually, but as a team, we have to recreate the 10 goals, and 11 assists,” he added.

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Hartley also believes that in Boothroyd, Jamshedpur FC have found a coach that will build on their success last season and make them an even better team. The Red Miners used a mix of approaches last season and carried a threat in a number of ways. The Scottish defender believes that we could see a slightly different style with Jamshedpur FC in the new season.

“I think we will use the ball a lot more this season. The manager has already said ‘don't go away from what gave you success as a team without the ball’, but he has also tried to give us a way of playing that will help everybody as a team and help us grow together,” Hartley said.

“We have been successful by finding a way to win games. I think, if we get rid of all the expectations (as Shield winners) and focus on one game at a time, it won't be a problem. As a group, our mentality has not changed,” he added.

Also Read: Winning the League Winners’ Shield was the peak of my career so far, says Jamshedpur FC’s Laldinliana Renthlei

The Hero ISL will have a fresh format this season with six teams making it to the playoff stage. However, Hartley believes even with the two additional spots, it will be harder than ever to make the cut for every team.

“This is my third season in ISL and every year it's been stronger. The India group of players are improving at a rapid pace. For me, the game is not played on paper. We have to start well and give the manager a good base to build on, and tweak a few things,” Hartley said.

Jamshedpur FC will open their Hero ISL 2022-23 campaign against Odisha FC on October 11 as they will welcome back fans to the JRD Tata Sports Complex in Jamshedpur after a gap of two years.

Having won the League Winners’ Shield last year, there will be high expectations from Jamshedpur FC again but with leaders like Hartley in their team, their task will be made easier.