Matthew Bates will rotate his squad once again when they return to pre-season action with a trip to face Shildon at Dean Street on Tuesday night (7.30pm kick-off).
The Pools boss made a raft of changes on the hour-mark during Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Sunderland at Victoria Park and is set to use a similar tactic against The Railwaymen.
Bates says the big bonus is that the majority of his squad have remained injury-free as they continue their preparations for the new campaign and he’s hoping to have at least one absentee back in contention at Shildon.
“I will split the lads up again so those who got the shorter amount of minutes at the weekend will play longer this time,” he explained.
“Mark Kitching was the only one to play 90 on Saturday but he’s a fit lad so I knew he’d be okay – I think it’s just the way he plays but he didn’t look like he even broke sweat, he was great.
“There are no major injuries which is good; Paddy McLaughlin has been off ill so he won’t be involved but Jake Cassidy should be back – he had a minor injury so it was pointless risking him against Sunderland.
“Aaron Cunningham won’t be there but we’re hoping he can be back in training on Friday and possibly on the bench on Saturday – I feel for him because he’s done all the pre-season work and then got a kick on his good ankle but he’s making progress.”
Pools will find themselves up against some familiar faces at Dean Street with former captain and coach Micky Barron now the Assistant Manager of Shildon.
As well as that, former Pools players Matty Robson, Billy Greulich-Smith, Carl Jones and Marc Ellison are among those in the ranks of the home side and Bates hopes that entices a few more visiting fans along.
“It’s not too far away so hopefully we’ll take a few to support us,” he commented.
“I was pleased on Saturday so let’s hope we can carry the positives from then in to this game but we also have some things we need to improve on and I want to see that as well.
“It’s all about ticking the boxes as we move through pre-season and making sure we get all our work done – these games are an extension of what we’re doing in training and it’s good to see how it works in a match situation.”
Admission at Shildon is £4 for adults and £2 for concessions.