STUART Parnaby is counting down the days until he pulls on his football boots again.
And Hartlepool United’s new signing has only three days to wait – the squad report for pre-season training on Tuesday.
Parnaby is looking forward to linking up with his new Pools team-mates and the manager he respects so much, his former Middlesbrough defensive comrade, Colin Cooper.
The 31-year-old endured a difficult final season at Boro, leaving the Riverside in May, but is relishing the challenge of trying to get Pools out of League Two.
“I’m really looking forward to Tuesday,” said Parnaby, who can play in either full-back role or centre midfield.
“I can’t wait to start training and get to know all the lads.
“It was not a great year for me at Boro but the move to Hartlepool United felt right in every way.
“I’ll look to get my fitness back as quickly as possible and I’m looking forward to Spain the week after.
“Going on tour gives everyone the chance to get to know each other as well as build fitness.
“Once we come back we’ll be building towards the games which is always exciting for a player.”
The opening friendly is a trip to Billingham Town on Wednesday, July 16 and given his lack of game-time in the 2013-14 season, it is a date Parnaby is likely to feature in.
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Pools have two Saturday games pencilled in at Bradford Park Avenue on July 19 and Whitby Town the following weekend.
The two stand-out fixtures are on Wednesdays – Premier League neighbours Sunderland come to the Vic on July 23 with Middlesbrough following seven days later.
It will give Pools’ two summer signigs, Parnaby and centre-half Matthew Bates, the chance to line up against their former club.
And Cooper has been thrilled with his acquisitions and paying thanks to chairman Ken Hodcroft and owners, Increased Oil Recovery.
“The chairman and IOR have been very supportive which I’m grateful for,” Cooper said.
“There was never a question about these two players coming through the door which is brilliant for me because I know the two lads and the level of technical spec they’re capable of.
“We have some exciting young players, some exciting forward players but in my humble opinion we need some good, solid citizens who will be a good influence in the dressing room and on the field.
“I think both Matthew and Stuart will adapt to League Two football because they have been round the block.”
Both players have Premier League, Championship and European experience – Parnaby having played in the UEFA Cup final with Boro.
“I can’t hide how chuffed I am to have them,” Cooper added in an interview with Pools Player
Pools supporters have just over a week to purchase Early Bird season Tickets.
Fans have until Tuesday, July 8 to pick up the lowest prices – adult tickets costing just £180, senior citizens/students £140, Under 19 £90 and Under 13 £55.