Hartlepool waiting on Sunderland, Newcastle and Middlesbrough over money-spinning games
Hartlepool United's are playing the waiting game as they look to lure at least one of the North East's big three to Victoria Park for a money-spinning friendly.
Pools are working hard behind the scenes to get one of Middlesbrough, Sunderland or Newcastle United to the Vic, to boost the club’s coffers ahead of another campaign in the National League.
As yet, though, none have fully committed to sending a team to take on Matthew Bates’ men.
And until Pools get a crystal clear answer from one, or more, of the trio, the club’s summer plans remain in limbo.
The club’s hierarchy are reluctant to book any dates with other opposition in hope that one of the three pens in a fixture, which has the potential to bring thousands of opposition fans through the gates this summer.
So far just one friendly has been announced.
Pools will travel to Billingham Town on Saturday, July 7, just a week or so after returning to full training.
Last season the club had SEVEN warm up games for their debut fifth tier season.
As well as Billingham, opposition came in the shape of Dunston UTS, Harrogate Town, Sunderland, St Johnstone, Middlesbrough U23s and Whitley Bay.
And it hardly proved the perfect prep for Craig Harrison’s side, who got off to a horror start in non-league football, failing to win any of their first six National League fixtures.
This time, though new manager Bates wants to cut that number down.
And as well as the trip to Bedford Terrace, the former defender, in his first full season in charge, wants four other games in a more condensed summer schedule.
“Our pre-season return date is set and we are trying to arrange five pre-season friendlies,” he said last week.
“In the past we have had too many games, and that is even forgetting about the workload in pre-season.
“This time we don’t want to cram the games in, especially with a smaller squad which we will be working on throughout the summer.”