Craig Harrison has said he can’t wait to sample the Victoria Park atmosphere for the first time when Pools host Sunderland in a pre-season friendly this evening (7.30pm kick-off).
After playing three friendlies on the road so far, the Pools boss reckons the encounter with the Black Cats is the perfect step up in the Club’s pre-season preparations.
There is set to be a bumper crowd at The Vic for tonight’s fixture and Harrison knows it promises to be a testing but useful exercise for his players.
“I’m really looking forward to it,” he told us.
“We’ve had three games away from home and this is a great fixture to kick-off with at The Vic because it’s a local derby against what I’m sure will be a strong Sunderland side.
“They’ve got a new Manager in Simon Grayson and some new signings too so they will offer us a big test but that will be perfect for us in terms of the fitness work we want to get out of it.
“I’ve seen how good the pitch is looking at The Vic and it’s a credit to Dave Brown and all of the staff at the ground who work so hard – they’re proud of the pitch and rightly so, it’s amazing.
“The players are really looking forward to playing on it tonight and I’m sure there will be a big crowd there so the atmosphere is something we can all enjoy.
“I’ve been looking forward to the first home game since I joined the Club so it’s something I am very excited about.”
Summer signing Jack Munns is set to return to the squad after missing Saturday’s game at Harrogate Town with a slight knock
However, Jake Cassidy (hamstring), Luke George (calf) and Devante Rodney (hip) all remain sidelined and Nicky Deverdics looks likely to be rested until the weekend after taking a knock.
“I’m going to try and get ninety minutes in to as many players as possible,” explained Harrison.
“We’re just gradually stepping things up so I would like to think the majority of the lads can get a full match under their belts either tonight or at St Johnstone on Saturday.”
Tickets are priced at just £10 for adults and £5 for concessions and are on sale in advance from the Ticket Office or on the cash turnstiles for both Pools and Sunderland supporters prior to kick-off.