Hartlepool United boss Kevin Phillips says players should expect gruelling pre-season and warns of the need to return in good shape

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now
Hartlepool United manager Kevin Phillips admitted he used to "hate" pre-season as a player but has warned that his squad should be prepared to be put through their paces when they return in June.

Phillips, who might have picked up some pointers from playing under the likes of Gordon Strachan, Peter Reid and Tony Mowbray, is planning a rigorous warm-up campaign after bemoaning his squad's lack of fitness this term.

The former Sunderland striker suggested last year's pre-season was not up to scratch and pointed to the fact that Pools won just two midweek matches all season as evidence that his side needed to be fitter.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Phillips moved to bring strength and conditioning coach Lee Moore, who he worked with at South Shields, to the club in a bid to increase the fitness levels of his squad and, in turn, reduce the number of injuries.

The Pools boss has warned that his players should expect a gruelling pre-season when they return in June.The Pools boss has warned that his players should expect a gruelling pre-season when they return in June.
The Pools boss has warned that his players should expect a gruelling pre-season when they return in June.

Moore is set to send the players off on their holidays with individual fitness plans and Phillips, who was never a fan off pre-season during his playing days, is expecting his squad to return from their break in good shape.

"I hated pre-season, I've got to be honest," he said.

"It's not the running or anything like that, I just wanted to get playing.

"I've come to understand that it's such an important part of the game, I can't stress enough how vital it is to have a good pre-season.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

"It sets you up for the season. If you miss any part, you're always playing catch-up.

"We've done our best, we'll have the best possible staff in place come pre-season.

"It's going to be demanding and it’s going to be tough, I've already said that to the players.

"They'll have their off-season programmes that I expect them to stick to. I want them to come back fit.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

"Back in the day, that never happened. You said goodbye and didn't do anything until about a week before you came back.

"The more they do in the off-season, as long as they do it right because we don't want them coming back fatigued and tired, the better.

"If they do that, we'll be ready to get the balls out straight away and then we can start working on our tactics and how we want to play.

"It's so important."

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.