Craig Hignett urges his Hartlepool United side to hit the ground running
Hartlepool United boss Craig Hignett has no complaints over the fixture schedule for the 2016-17 League Two campaign.
And he has urged his new-look Pools squad to take full advantage and hit the ground running.
Pools have been handed home games on the opening and final day of the season plus home Boxing Day and New Year’s Eve fixtures - the first time the club has benefited from that combination in ten years.
Colchester United, relegated from League One last year, head to The Vic on August 6 before the first of a series of long away days, which begin with a trip to Exeter City on August 13.
Hignett’s options have been boosted with the signings of striker Padraig Amond, central defender Toto Nsiala and attacking midfielder Nicky Deverdics.
And the manager is ready to get back down to work when the players return next week.
“I’m really looking forward to the players coming back in to training because I am ready to start work again now – it feels like we have been off for ages even though it hasn’t actually been that long.
“I really can’t wait and I know the fans and the players feel the same so hopefully we can have a really enjoyable season.
“It’s nice to start at home and it will be a big game.
“Colchester will be wanting to start well after coming down so that will be a tough one for us – but they can all be tough if you aren’t prepared or you don’t approach things in the right way.
“It’s great for the fans that we are starting at The Vic, that’s the first thing you look at – and to be at home over Christmas and on the last day too, I don’t think we can complain about the fixtures!
“We know we have to play everyone at some stage, we know we have some rascal trips along the way but, as far as fixtures go, I think they have been kind to us this season.”
Pools are at home to Blackpool on Boxing Day before the visit of Morecambe on New Year’s Eve - and Hignett is fully aware of how crucial the festive period can be.
“The schedule over Christmas is good though so that just means it will be down to how we approach the fixtures and hopefully we can make it a key period for us.”
Pools end their campaign at home to promotion favourites Doncaster Rovers.
Hignett added: “The first priority for us is to start the season well and not get carried away.
“We have some hard work ahead and we’ll see where we are when that fixture comes along but it’s looks a tasty one,” Hignett told the club’s website.
* Hartlepool United have been drawn away to Championship side Preston North End in the first round of the EFL Cup.
First Round ties are due to take place on Tuesday, August 9.