Craig Harrison to fine tune Hartlepool United for National League start

Scott Harrison gets above Romaine Habran in the friendly at St Johnstone. Picture: Graeme Hart/ Perthshire Picture Agency
Scott Harrison gets above Romaine Habran in the friendly at St Johnstone. Picture: Graeme Hart/ Perthshire Picture Agency

Craig Harrison says he and his coaching staff are looking to “fine tune” Hartlepool United on the training ground for the next two weeks.

The Pools boss is happy with the progress made by his squad ahead of the big National League kick-off, on August 5.

Saturday was all positives - I’ve said to the lads ‘make my job as hard as possible’

CRAIG HARRISON

Harrison has, deliberately, kept the last fortnight of pre-season free of mid-week action so he and coaches, Paul Jenkins, Matthew Bates, Bernhard Hirmer and Craig Hubbard, can work unhindered with their players.

“That’s been by design, “ Harrison told SportMail. “This week and next week.

“We’re going to get two full weeks on the training pitch, just to fine tune things.

“Me and the coaching staff will examine the tapes from both tough matches from the last week and we’ll work on the things it throws up to make sure we are ready for the start of the season.”

While Pools went down 1-0 at St Johnstone on Saturday – their third straight defeat by a single-goal margin – Harrison is a happy boss.

“Saturday was all positives,” said Harrison. “I’ve said to the lads ‘make my job as hard as possible’ and they are.

“The last week has been a fantastic week.

“We’ve played a Championship team in Sunderland, who are just down from the Premier League and been disappointed to lose to a last-minute world-class free-kick.

“On Saturday we’ve lost to a scruffy early goal, but after that we’ve been brilliant against a team who were fourth in the Scottish Premier League and have just beaten Sunderland 3-0.

“We’re talking about fine margins in both matches so I’m pleased, without a doubt.”

Pools looked good at McDiarmid Park against the SPL side who recently competed in the Europa Cup.

While they went down to a 12th-minute Steven MacLean goal, Pools competed strongly and came close to a draw with Saints keeper Alan Mnuss pulling off a super save to keep out a Nicky Deverdics free-kick.

“We’ve had a great shape and good discipline,” said Harrison, who leads his side into a friendly with Middlesbrough on Friday night.

“I think if you take out their goal, we’ve probably two or three better chances in open play but it’s just getting that final cutting edge.

“We looked really good defensively, our midfield shape was good and so was our shape up front.

“Without the ball the lads are really taking on board what I want – pressing, working hard, being hard to beat.

“We’ve had some good play until the final third and now we’re getting close to the start of the season we need to work a little bit on that.”