Hartlepool United prepare for final pre-season friendly against Sunderland
Hartlepool United will wrap-up their pre-season campaign against Sunderland at the Academy of Light on Monday afternoon.
The behind closed doors match will be Pools’ eighth and final friendly ahead of Saturday’s National League opener against Sutton United at the Super 6 Stadium (3pm kick-off).
Craig Hignett’s side go into the game on the back of a convincing 3-0 win over Macclesfield Town on Saturday – their fourth victory of pre-season.
The Black Cats are expected to field a fairly strong side against Hartlepool as they prepare to kick-off their campaign at home to Oxford United on August 3.
Saturday saw United rest several key players in anticipation for Monday’s match. Liam Noble, Jason Kennedy, Fraser Kerr, Myles Anderson and Luke Williams were not part of the matchday squad against the Silkmen in addition to confirmed injuries to Ryan Donaldson (calf), Luke Molyneux (foot) and Josh Hawkes (hamstring).
Noble, Kennedy and Kerr all took part in the pre-match warm-ups though Anderson and Williams were not spotted. But Hignett quelled any suggestion that he has further injury issues to contend with.
With the exception Donaldson, Molyneux and Hawkes, “everyone who wasn’t playing” against Macclesfield will play against Sunderland – according to the Hartlepool manager.
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He added: “The plan was to get everyone 90 minutes in one of these two games to make sure all the players are ready.
“We are probably a few players short of being able to do that so some players might have to do 45 minutes.
“We had eight out (on Saturday) either injured, rested and still had a good squad out against Macclesfield so we are in a good place.
“Ryan is very close, he should be out on the grass on Monday but we have enough people to not rush him back and give him a proper pre-season so when he’s back he’s done everything the other lads have.
“I think the fitness levels are really good and we look sharper and quicker.
“I think the squad as a whole has more legs in it – that’s evident. The lads are fit and they are ready.”