Youth team coach Ian McGuckin explains his pride behind his U18 side’s unbeaten run in August.
The young Poolies started the 2023/24 campaign with a 4-0 win at Rotherham United on August 5. McGuckin was pleased with both the result and performance from his young outfit:
"It was a good start to the month. The lads were really energetic and played on the front foot. The performance was certainly there - we kept a clean sheet and scored four goals. The pleasing thing for me though was seeing how the new lads gelled into the group, both on and off the field. We have several first years joining up with our second years, and you can question what the dynamics will be like, but they've shown real unity and you can see that in our results."
The following week, Hartlepool claimed another impressive result with a 3-0 victory at home to Bradford City. He added:
"We found Bradford an extremely tough opponent last year, so that shows how much we've progressed. It was nice to get back-to-back wins with high performance levels. The lads are full of momentum, but we're also focusing on consistency because that's what will develop the players."
And at the weekend, Pools extended their unbeaten run though it came in bittersweet fashion. Having twice led, Hartlepool were forced to settle for a point at Harrogate Town after a 90th minute equaliser made it 2-2.
"Harrogate were last year's champions. Of course there's a different intake year to year, but they're still a very good opponent. All in all, it was probably a fair result. Both teams had chances and they pegged us back twice. Their second was right in the last minute from a corner which was slightly frustrating but the lads will learn from it.”
McGuckin now turns his attention to September, where Pools will face three league games and a League Cup clash.
“Next month we’ve got some more big league games, but we also enter the cup competitions. We have Preston North End in the League Cup on September 9th. We faced them last year and it was a tough game, they’ve got a good catchment area. We might take the opportunity to rotate the side and share out the minutes for that one.”