COLIN Cooper insists the gruelling pre-season schedule is all about testing his Hartlepool United player’s hearts and minds ahead of the new campaign.
Speaking at the club’s Maiden Castle training base, in Durham, this morning, Cooper said he was pleased with the fitness levels of his players on their return to training.
Joining new signings Matthew Bates and Stuart Parnaby were two trialists - Biko Bradnock-Brennan and Eugen Bopp - who are spending time training with Pools.
Ukranian-born Bopp, 30, is a midfielder by trade and has previously played for Nottingham Forest, Rotherham United and York City.
Meanwhile, defender Bradnock-Brennan has previously played at youth level at Blackpool, under Ian Holloway, and has spent time in America.
Cooper was in a positive mood at training and is looking forward to testing his players over the coming weeks.
“Everybody will stress, and rightly so, that if you get a good block of base work down then you hope it stands you in good stead for the rest of the season,” explained Cooper.
“You often hear players say that if they feel as though they have missed pre-season then they are then playing catch-up.
“For clubs at this level the job is to get the work done but to also get as many people through to the end of pre-season - ready for August 9 - fit and available.
“There is no good having a flying pre-season and then people pull up towards the end.”
Cooper added: “Pre-season is about testing people’s hearts and minds - that is what it is all about.
“I have to say that I was quite happy yesterday with the first couple of tests around people’s weight and body fats, which were all good.
“I was expecting what I got and I was happy with that but that is just day one - you want to test people’s hearts and minds because you find during the season that when you get tested physically and mentally that this is the time of the year you feel as though you have the fuel you need.”
Meanwhile, the club had confirmed that season ticket sales are approaching the 2,000 mark.
The early bird deadline is now less than one week away with supporters having until 4pm on Tuesday, July 8.
As of this morning, the club had sold 1,921 season tickets for the new 2014-15 Sky Bet League Two campaign.
The club ticket office will open from 9am to 1pm on Saturday, July 5.
Season tickets are priced at £180 for adults, £140 for seniors/students, £90 for Under-19 and £55 for Under-13 with the club’s early bird offer.
* See Thursday’s Hartlepool Mail for further reaction from Colin Cooper as pre-season at Hartlepool United gathers momentum.