Craig Harrison has revealed that the vast majority of his squad will be given some game time when Pools play their first friendly of pre-season at Billingham Town tonight (7.45pm kick-off).
After spending the last fortnight working hard on the training ground, the Pools boss says there is excitement building as the next stage of preparations is reached with the first match action.
Harrison admits that getting back in to a game situation will not only help the players build further on their fitness but also help everyone begin to firmly look forward to the new campaign.
“It’s about the fitness – but we also want to draw a line under last season with this being the first game,” he told us.
“This game is all part of a bigger plan, a periodisation of pre-season and a stepping stone towards the start of the season. They’ve trained for ten days or so but there’s nothing quite like playing a game.
“All of a sudden, it’s your legs, lungs, heart and brain all working together – I think sometimes when you’re running in training it’s easy for your brain to switch off a bit so this is a chance to engage them fully and blow some of the cobwebs away physically and mentally.
“I am really looking forward to the game; it’s been a long five weeks since I was appointed so it’s good to get back out on the grass and get some match time.
“The excitement has gone up a level now the fixtures are out, I could feel that from the players in training on Wednesday, so now we can start doing some more in-depth planning.
“I spent a good few hours yesterday doing a lot of work on our first few opponents because I am just so enthusiastic to get going, there’s a real buzz around the place now and we want to get the ball rolling.”
Of the senior players, only Nicky Featherstone remains unavailable for the game; the midfielder had a double hernia operation in May but returned to training on Wednesday and is now stepping up his workload.
All six summer signings are set to don Pools colours for the first time, while Harrison is also expected to field trialists Junior Mondal, Curtis Obeng and Martin Smith, who have been in training with the Club during pre-season.
Admission prices for the game are £5 for adults and £3 for concessions.