Leeds United, Doncaster Rovers and Sheffield United star Billy Paynter wants to see a ball at Hartlepool United

Billy Paynter in training at Catterick. Picture by Frank Reid

Billy Paynter in training at Catterick. Picture by Frank Reid

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Billy Paynter laughed his way through Hartlepool United’s day on the Army assault course.

And the Scouser will have a smile as wide as the Mersey when the football is brought out at Catterick tomorrow.

I just don’t want to hear any more grenade shouts! My knees and elbows have taken a battering

BILLY PAYNTER

After three days of punishing physical exercise and team building, boss Ronnie Moore will have an in-house practice match tomorrow.

It will provide a welcome break from the boot camp run by Hartlepool soldier, Paul Tucker and his colleagues in the Royal Artillary Physical Training Corps.

They have pushed the Pools squad to the limit, including regular cries of “grenade” which involves the players diving to the ground and crawling forward.

The PT instructors train soldiers for war and the League Two players have been getting a taste of it.

“What’s a ball?” smiled Paynter. “We’re really looking forward to it, we have an in-house game (tomorrow) to look forward to that should be fun.

“I just don’t want to hear any more grenade shouts! My knees and elbows have taken a battering.”

Paynter is being too modest.

The experienced striker, who joined Pools from League Two rivals Carlisle, was a stand-out performer at the Marne Barracks in North Yorkshire.

As well as wearing a permanent smile, he regularly led the way in the exercises and looks a character, something he says Pools are not short of.

“I know it’s hard work,” he told SportMail. “But I have laughed a lot.

“As long as you are prepared to put the graft in - and the fellas here really do put you through your paces - it can be enjoyable.

“It’s different, I think I’ve had may be one day in my career like this before but never a week.

“Everyone has worked hard and worked for each other, I think that’s been an important thing.

“I think the manager wants to see what sort of characters are here.

“There are obviously great characters here, you know that by what happened at the end of last season.

“It takes character to get out of that situation.

“The way the club turned it around can only breed confidence for this season.”