Hartlepool United can build team spirit in pre-season

Craig Harrison with Jeff Stelling
Craig Harrison with Jeff Stelling

Craig Harrison has begun building what he hopes will be a promotion-winning squad at Hartlepool United.

And now the manager says he will be looking to grow the team spirit he says will be key to getting Pools back into the Football League as soon as he can.

Pools return to pre-season training on Monday and the announcement of a batch of friendlies provides greater focus on preparing for their first National League campaign.

The club have released five pre-season friendly dates to add to the match with Wigan at Victoria Park which was already in place.

Games can only help foster the atmosphere Harrison is looking to generate at the Vic.

”I said in my first interview here that if everyone is like-minded, everyone is together it is unbelievable how far it can take you,” said the 39-year-old, who has made five new signings and hopes to add one or two more before Monday.

“With the quality we have brought in and the quality we already here we have a good squad.

“It’s important that everyone is singing from the same hymn sheet.

“We are at this moment in time, everyone is keen to get Hartlepool United back in the football League as soon as possible.

“The players are like me, everyone of them can’t wait to get started.”

The friendly programme means Harrison and his players have something to get their teeth into ahead of the start of the season on Saturday, August 5.

Not for the first time, neighbours Billingham Town will form the opposition for the opening run-out of pre-season early next month.

Pools make the trip to Bedford Terrace, where the club play their reserve fixtures, on Thursday, July 6 (KO 7.45pm).

The following week Pools will be on the road again when they travel to face further EBAC Northern League opposition in Dunston UTS on Wednesday, July 12th (KO 7.45pm).

There will be a further away test on Tuesday, July 18 (KO 7.30pm) as Harrison takes his team to face National League North outfit Blyth Spartans at Croft Park.

Pools had already announced a pre-season friendly with League One outfit Wigan Athletic on Tuesday, July 25 (KO 7.30pm), the first confirmed home game of the pre-season schedule.

Harrison will then split his squad for the final weekend before the campaign begins when Pools will host a Middlesbrough XI at the Vic while also sending a team to play at Northern League First Division club Whitley Bay on Saturday, July 29.

Both games are 3pm kick-offs.