Craig Harrison has urged his players to finish off their pre-season schedule in positive style as they prepare to welcome Middlesbrough Under-23s to Victoria Park on Friday (7.30pm kick-off).
It’s the penultimate friendly in the pre-season calendar for Pools, with a team also set to head for Whitley Bay on Saturday in what will be a busy but productive weekend for the squad.
And Harrison knows that whatever team Boro send up the A19 to The Vic will offer a stern challenge with our North-East neighbours famed for producing young talent over the years.
“It will be another good test for us,” Harrison admitted.
“They’re fit lads and, historically, have done really well in their age groups and Middlesbrough have been one of the best in the country for producing young players.
“A lot of them have been involved in and around the First Team so I imagine it will be a big challenge for us but, as I keep saying, that’s what we’re after now so we’re looking forward to it.”
Harrison has been satisfied with the way things have gone during the warm-up campaign and feels like he has been educated about his players with every fixture played.
“I don’t think it was a great performance at Harrogate but I think out of all the games we’ve played that was the one I learned the most from.
“It’s great training, going through what you want to do and watching footage but getting the team in to a game situation helps you to learn and it was great experience for some of the younger lads who played in that game.
“You don’t get that sort of thing in Under-23s football so it’s invaluable for the likes of Kenton and Josh to get that experience in pre-season because moving forward it will be invaluable.
“Overall, I think it’s been a solid pre-season and we’ve got what we wanted out of it so we need to work just as hard over the two games at the weekend and then make sure we’re fully prepared for next Saturday.”
The Pools boss is hopeful of giving ninety minutes to the majority of his squad during this weekend’s two games, whilst also taking the opportunity to run the rule over a couple of trialists.
Luke George should play some part in one of the game after overcoming a calf injury, while Devante Rodney is hoping for his first action of pre-season after shrugging off a troublesome hip problem.
Ticket information for Middlesbrough – click here.
Ticket information for Whitley Bay – click here.