Gavan Holohan has admitted that he and his teammates are thrilled that their games programme has started so early in pre-season to complement the hard work they’re doing in training.
The Pools squad have been back to work for little over a week and a half but they’re already a game in to their seven-fixture warm-up campaign ahead of the big kick-off.
Midfield star Holohan reckons that’s a massive blessing for the players because playing games gives them something to build towards when they’re up against it during hard days on the training ground.
“It’s been good so far but obviously it’s been tough,” he told us.
“There is a lot of conditioning work to do but once the friendlies start coming it makes it easier so we all enjoyed getting some minutes under the belt the other night.
“The games coming quite quickly helps break up the training; I’ve been at clubs in the past where you have to get through the first two and a half weeks before you get any game time and it can be a grind.
“So when you’re putting graft in during training the games give you something to focus on and we’re looking forward to playing again on Saturday.
“We’re still putting in the hard graft but that will only make us fitter and stronger, and even when it’s tough you keep going because you get that sense of achievement and you know that it’s more work in the bank.
“It’s just great being back though. You can only have so much time off before you get that itch to be back in amongst it with all the lads.”
Holohan was among the standout performers during the first half of Tuesday evening’s opening friendly outing at Billingham Town.
The Irishman was on target with a close-range header during the 4-0 triumph, as boss Craig Hignett gave the majority of his squad 45 minutes of action against their Northern League neighbours.
And with several new faces arriving at the Club during the summer, Holohan knows that the standards have risen and everyone will need to be firing on all cylinders if they want to be in the starting eleven come August.
“Getting 45 minutes blows the cobwebs off and even though I was rusty I felt okay because of the hard work we’ve done,” Holohan revealed.
“It’s about getting that sharpness in to the feet and getting the mind back working the way it does when you’re in full flow but that will come with more games.
“It’s also about building good habits in pre-season. Winning is a good one and scoring goals is another, so for me and the rest of the lads who got on the scoresheet it was great even though it was only a friendly.
“It’s always good to get in to that routine of finding the back of the net in the friendlies and then you look to take that in to the season with you.
“Everyone has to be on their toes and bringing their best game every time they play because the competition is definitely really strong this year.”
A major summer milestone was ticked off on Wednesday as the fixtures for the new National League season were confirmed with Pools handed home advantage against Sutton United on the opening day.
After signing-off last term with an impressive win over promotion-bound Salford City, Holohan wants Pools to pick up where they left off and put together a positive opening to 2019/20.
“We are all delighted that the first game is at home,” he explained.
“It’s always nice to start the season in front of your own fans so hopefully we can get a big crowd there and we will be ready to give them something to shout about.”