Hartlepool United return to action as Dave Challinor delivers verdict on friendly schedule
Hartlepool United return to action this weekend and Dave Challinor admits the pre-season schedule isn’t ideal ahead of the return to the Football League.
Pools will open their pre-season at Runcorn Linnets this Saturday, July 17 (3pm kick-off).
They will then travel to the Brewery Field to face Tommy Miller’s Spennymoor Town on Tuesday, 20 July (7:45pm kick-off).
Pools will also travel to face National League North side Blyth Spartans at Croft Park on Tuesday, 27 July (7:30pm kick-off).
Spartans’ management team is comprised of Hartlepool club legends Micky Nelson and Micky Barron.
Pools have just one other pre-season match scheduled as it stands as they are set to visit Gateshead on Saturday, 24 July (3pm kick-off).
It wasn’t possible to have a home friendly given the tight turnaround from last season ending – the National League play-off final on June 20 – and the League Two season getting underway on August 7.
On the friendly schedule, Challinor said: “Is it ideal, of course it’s not because we can’t play any home games.
"We knew that would be the case if we were in League Two due to our pitch but would we have sacrificed having to play home play-off games with not having any pre-season friendlies, absolutely so we’ll take it as the best case scenario.
"We look at where we are in terms of our schedules.
"Had we been in the National League, the lads would have had a break and we wouldn’t have been back in pre-season now but all of a sudden we’re promoted and we’re back at it a week later.
"The consequences of being a Football League team are far less than the rewards.
"We accept our pre-season isn’t ideal with it all being away games against non-league sides but it’s just about making sure we’re ready for August 7 and everyone knows what to expect.
"The friendlies for us will be about ticking boxes because we wouldn’t have lost a huge amount of fitness really, it will just be a case of getting that match sharpness back. They’ll do for us to make sure we’re ready.”
The club have also confirmed they are planning a final away pre-season fixture on Saturday, 31 July. All ticket information will be confirmed in due course.