Ben Killip relishing new season at Hartlepool United with ex-Chelsea and Norwich City man set to start at Walsall

Ben Killip admits he’s excited to get back into the swing of things as Hartlepool United prepare for their season opener at Walsall.

Killip enjoyed a solid season for Pools last year and has picked up where he left off in pre-season with the 26-year-old set to retain the No.1 shirt for the club this season.

Pools boss Paul Hartley has brought in experienced goalkeeper Kyle Letheren as a back-up to Killip, with Letheren’s role more focused on the coaching side of things, with the ex-Norwich City man relishing a return to league action this weekend.

“I’ve enjoyed not travelling on the bus but I'm really, really looking forward to it,” Killip said of the new campaign.

Ben Killip is set to retain the No.1 shirt at Hartlepool United this season. Picture by FRANK REID

“It’s what you do pre-season for. You play all these games and it’s to get into the starting team for the first game of the season and then to keep the shirt as your own.

“I personally can’t wait because it’s when the proper stuff starts and points are on the board and the fans get involved and there’s a real excitement, so it’s going to be good.”

Killip was handed back-to-back 90 minutes in friendlies against Lincoln City and Blackburn Rovers, producing an excellent display in particular against the Championship side, before sharing 45 minutes with Letheren against Sunderland.

And Killip believes it has been a productive pre-season under the new manager.

“I think it’s been very good,” he said.

“It’s always hard in pre-season because you’re kind of chomping at the bit to get back to the start of the season and sometimes it gets frustrating because it feels like a long way away.

“But I think we’ve done well, there’s been a lot of new faces in the building, both staff and players, and it always takes some time to get used to new ways of people doing things and new players and personalities in the dressing room.

“But I think all the lads who have come in, the gaffer, and Gordon and Kyle, have all been very good and I think we’ve got a good chance of doing well.”