Harrogate Town-Hartlepool United: Intensity demanded by manager

Jakes Cassidy powers forward at Dunston. Picture by BERNADETTE MALCOLMSON
Jakes Cassidy powers forward at Dunston. Picture by BERNADETTE MALCOLMSON

Craig Harrison is looking to see Hartlepool United continue to perform with “intensity” as the pre-season programme moves up a notch tomorrow.

Pools visit Harrogate Town tomorrow on the back of two goal-laden wins over Ebac Norhern League opposition.

Intensity is something I really believe in and it was important the players got in intense time

CRAIG HARRISON

Harrison’s side have an impressive 13-0 ‘aggregate’ scoreline from trips to Billingham Town and Dunston UTS.

But a journey to Wetherby Road will be a much more difficult assignment given Town are in the division below Pools (kick-off 3pm).

Harrison will, essentially, be looking for physical progress tomorrow, with those outfield players, who appeared for the last half-hour at Dunston, getting an hour against the National League North team.

It will mean starts for the likes of Kenton Richardson, Liam Donnelly, Luke George, Lewis Hawkins, Liam Travers and, probably, Jake Cassidy.

“It was good to progress onto 60 minutes for players [after 45 at Billingham Town],” said Harrison, who wants the players on the same page as him in terms of intensity.

“The others who got 30 on Wednesday night will get an hour against Harrogate.

“There are things we still need to work on, but that’s me being me.

“That’s how I am – there will never be a point when I am completely satisfied, but I’m pleased [with the performance at Dunston].

“It’s really important and I want the players on the pitch to be the same.

“Intensity is something I really believe in and it was important the players got in intense time.”

Harrison will take medical advice on two of his summer signings – Jack Munns and Cassidy.

Both forwards were on target at Dunston, Munns scoring a beautiful 40-plus-yard chip and Cassidy scoring from much closer in late on.

Munns came off after getting a kick on his ankle, with Cassidy feeling his hamstring.

Nicky Featherstone and Devante Rodney are the only two injury absentees and Harrison, pleased with the fitness progression, will not risk any player.

“We’ve picked up no injuries, bar Munnsy and that was just a kick,” said the manager.

“Jake had a bit of a tight hamstring.

“With a bit of recovery time and a bit of care, they’ll be fine.

“We’ll accept that situation at this stage of the procedings.”

Harrison has been pleased with the work the squad have been doing, primarily with conditioning coach Craig Hubbard.

The former Middlesbrough and Crystal Palace defender believes fitter players will make for better players.

“Every team I’ve been involved in as a manager has been a passing side,” said the 39-year-old.

“But in modern-day football, first and foremost you have to be an athlete.

“The way I want the game to be played, you have to be an athlete to do that.

“We have to make sure in this build-up to the season that we get the base work right.

“If we do that, the rest will look after themselves.”

Trialists James Graham, Martin Smith and Junior Mondal are likely starters following encouraging run-outs on Tyneside.