Pools boss Craig Hignett is back with another Blog, as he reflects on pre-season progress, talks about involving Luke Williams, plus looks ahead to the Open Day and the Boro friendly.
Hello everyone and welcome back to my Blog here on the Official Website.
We're moving up a gear this week in terms of our preparations as we build to Sunday's Middlesbrough game and we've got another good few days of training under our belts to be in good nick for it.
Things are looking a little brighter on the injury front now because we've got Fraser Kerr back in training after his ankle injury and Myles Anderson has also got back with us this week after the surgery on his teeth earlier in the summer.
Ryan Donaldson isn't a million miles away either after his calf trouble and then there's Luke Williams – who wants to play in these friendlies but, being totally honest, I didn't want him to.
There is no timeframe on it with Luke, it will simply be down to when I think he's ready. He thinks he is ready now and he's itching to play but I didn't see the point if I am being honest because when he plays I want him to be at 100%.
I know that some people are getting frustrated, nobody more so than Luke but I have a duty to do this properly for him. We have waited this long, it would be pointless to rush him back too soon but we still have games left that he can be involved in.
Things have gone as well as they could have done in our friendlies so far, in terms of how we've played and how the new lads have mixed in and integrated themselves both on and off the pitch – we couldn't have asked much more really.
However, it's important that you do test yourself so that you know exactly where you are before the season kicks-off. It's alright playing these games and winning four four, six and seven – now I want a team to come and give us a test going the other way and I think Boro will certainly do that on Sunday.
We haven't been really stretched defensively as yet; we've been comfortable in all the game and that's partly because we've been so confident on the ball and looked so dangerous. Boro will test us, there is no about that.
They had a good win at Gateshead the other night and have some really good players but I am interested to see how our lads cope with all that. It will be tough but we'll keep on doing what we're doing and hopefully cause them some problems too.
I know Jonathan Woodgate really well and I hope he does well there in the job. He's got the club at heart, he's a local lad who loves Boro so he has a great opportunity now and I hope he make a real success of it.
It's not easy being a rookie manager, it's tough. He will come up against things that he didn't expect to encounter and it's an important season for their football club so he's got a massive job on and a big responsibility but I like Woody as a lad and I wish him all the best.
Before Sunday we have the Open Day on Saturday, which is something we're looking forward to. We get to unveil the new home kit which is something I know the players are really excited about too.
Last year was a really good day, everyone seemed to really enjoy it and the feedback we got was hugely positive so we thought we would do it again this summer. It's a good day for us to meet the fans and for them to meet the new players – and for the new players to see how big this Club is for the division we're in.
I am lucky enough being Manager that I have had a sneak peek at the new kit and I have to say I really like it, I am a big fan. O'Neills have been excellent so far - the training kit is first class, the lads all look really smart and we've had loads of nice compliments about it. It fits well and it's good quality.
I will be interested to hear what everyone thinks of our new kit when they get to see it but I am more than certain that you're all going to love it!
Anyway, it's a busy weekend ahead with things going on Saturday and Sunday so hopefully we can see as many of you as possible down here to join us for the Open Day and the Middlesbrough friendly.