Michael Woods: There won’t be any teams fitter than Hartlepool this year!

Michael Woods in action for Hartlepool United
Michael Woods in action for Hartlepool United

There won’t be any teams fitter than Hartlepool United this season.

That’s according to Michael Woods who believes the intense programme of friendly matches plus the week-long Army bootcamp at Catterick Garrison has left Ronnie Moore’s squad in tip top shape.

There won’t be any teams in the division who have worked harder than us.

Michael Woods, Pools midfielder

The squad’s fitness levels were evident in the season opener against Morecambe on Saturday, with Pools running out 2-0 winners at The Vic.

Bright from the start, Pools looked sharp and got off to the perfect start with a win in front of their home support ahead of back-to-back away fixtures.

First up is tonight’s trip to Highbury Stadium to take on Fleetwood Town in the first round of the Capital One Cup (KO 7.45pm).

The League One side will prove a stern test for Pools but Woods says one thing that won’t be an issue is fitness.

“Fitness wise [this pre-season] we couldn’t have done anymore,” Woods told SportMail.

“There won’t be any teams in the division who have worked harder than us. We have done a lot of the fitness work, that is in the bank. Now it is a case of knuckling down tactically and getting the shape right.”

Billy Paynter and Rakish Bingham scored in the win over The Shrimps, with Pools keeping their first shut out of the season too. That will be key in a competitive league, says Woods, ahead of York City away on Saturday.

He added: “We need clean sheets and that then gives you a foundation to work on. It would nice to get a few early results if we can, to give the fans something to cheer and build some momentum.”