Hartlepool United-Dover Athletic: Pools to set promotion ball rolling

Blair Adams.
Blair Adams.

Craig Harrison is ready and so are Hartlepool United – ready to launch their promotion assault.

The build-up seems to have gone on for ever, but it’s almost time to play, with Pools hosting Dover Athletic at Victoria park in the National League on Saturday.

There is no lack of quality, we’ve got quality, we’ve 17/18 players who have played at a good standard

CRAIG HARRISON

“I think everyone just wants the game here now,” said Harrison.

“I’m excited, everyone is excited and can’t wait to get on the pitch and hopefully get that first three points and set the ball rolling.

“I’ve been in the job seven weeks and everything has been geared up to Saturday.

“I’m now looking forward to getting the outcome we want.”

Harrison has been impressed how the squad has moulded over pre-season, which ended with a tally of three wins and three defeats in seven outings.

The manager says the players have the right ability and attitude to bring promotion at the first time of asking.

“Definitely, without a doubt,” he declared.

“There were already some good players here but we’ve brought good players in.

“It will not be for the want of effort, hard work and desire to get back in the Football League as soon as possible.

“I’ve always said that if you are not good enough through ability then you accept that.

“But one thing you don’t accept is any lack of hard work and determination.

“There is no lack of quality, we’ve got quality, we’ve 17/18 players who have played at a good standard.

“Any one of them could start the game.”

Harrison hopes to have a full squad to choose from at the Vic this Saturday.

Only Blair Adams {groin) has sat out training this week after coming off last Friday against Middlesbrough, but the manager expects the left-back to take a full part tomorrow at the Racecourse.

Pools will be hoping for a 3,000-plus crowd for the visit of the Kent club.

Harrison has been impressed with the atmosphere in the ground in the two pre-season friendlies with Sunderland and Boro U23.

“There was a big crowd at the Sunderland game, which was great, not so many at the Middlesbrough match but there was still a good atmosphere,” said Harrison, who had seen the ground rocking on TV on the last day of the 2016-17 season.

“There was a buzz about the place, especially when we scored the goals.

“The final game of last season had positives and negatives.

“Obviously, relegation was a huge negative but the huge positive was the way the people came out to support en masse.

“I want to create a place that teams are scared to come and play, with the fans 100% behind our players.

“The players will give everything they’ve got and if they don’t they won’t be at the club, it’s that simple.

“We’ve brought in hungry players and the lads who were already here are 100% committed.

“If the crowd can be anything like they were on the last day of the season, they won’t be disappointed.”