Hartlepool boss Craig Harrison pleased with Pools squad

Craig Harrison watches training
Craig Harrison watches training

Craig Harrison believes he has the right blend in his squad for a National League promotion bid.

The Hartlepool United boss has made six new signings since accepting the challenge of reviving the club.

Harrison has brought in keeper Scott Loach, defender Blair Adams, midfield destroyer Luke George and attacking talents Jake Cassidy, Ryan Donaldson and Jack Munns.

Pools had already released nine before Harrison arrived and sold Nathan Thomas to Sheffield United and offloaded Lewis Alessandra to Notts County.

The new boss tried to keep Trevor Carson, but the goalie, desperate to win a place back in the Northern Ireland squad, was allowed to join Motherwell in the Scottish Premier League.

But Harrison has inherited a strong core of players from last season.

Only out-of-contract Brad Walker has been missing from the start of pre-season training, but the rest have been going through their paces at Maiden Castle.

The likes of Carl Magnay, Scott Harrison, Liam Donnelly, Nicky Featherstone, Michael Woods, Lewis Hawkins, Rhys Oates and Padraig Amond all going to be key men for Harrison and Pools.

Harrison feels that the squad has a good balance between old and new and insists those who suffered the pain of the drop will be keen to right the wrong next season.

“Obviously there will be a bit of a hangover [from last season] because there are seven or eight players here,” said the 39-year-old.

“But these are good players, good Football League players.

“There is a good feeling about the place, they feel responsible and they want to get the club back in the Football League as soon as possible which is good.

“The players feel they owe the football club their all to win promotion.

“But it’s also very good to have the new lads who provide a freshness to the squad.

“It’s good we haven’t got 22 players who were relegated, the way the squad looks now it’s probably half new, half old.

“But all the lads are determined to get Hartlepool back in the Football League.”

The clock though would appear to be ticking for Walker.

Harrison remained hopeful of persuading the midfielder-turned-defender to stay at the Vic, though he is unlikely to wait for ever.

He would like the 21-year-old in as soon as possible as he looks to week two of pre-season and the first friendly, a trip to Billingham Town on Thursday.

Next week is a big week for Pools who will learn their fixtures for their first season in the National League on Wednesday.