Hartlepool hopeful of Sunderland and Newcastle money-spinning games after Boro boost

Hartlepool took on Sunderland last summer.
Hartlepool took on Sunderland last summer.

Hartlepool United will take on local rivals Middlesbrough in a pre-season friendly – and would still like another big-name clash.

Pools had hoped to attract one of the big three sides from the region to Victoria Park, and it has now been confirmed that a Boro XI will be making the short journey.

After announcing their first pre-season friendly yesterday, with a trip to Billingham pencilled in for July 7, Matthew Bates’ first pre-season in charge continues to shape up.

Bates previously suggested that he would be looking for five friendlies this summer, which suggests there will still be three fixtures yet to announce.

Middlesbrough will make the journey to the Vic on Saturday, July 28 (kick-off 3pm) – the last Saturday before the new season kicks-off.

The last time the two senior sides faced off was in 2014, when Boro ran out 2-0 winners.

Pools will be hoping for a bumper crowd at Victoria Park which will provide for extra funds for new owner Raj Singh as he helps to lift the club from a disappointing season.

Ticket details are yet to be confirmed for the friendly.

Pools, meanwhile, are playing the waiting game as they look to tie up more friendlies.

Pools are working hard behind the scenes to get Sunderland or Newcastle United to the Vic.

Last season the club had SEVEN warm up games for their debut fifth tier season. And it hardly proved the perfect prep for Craig Harrison’s side, who got off to a horror start in non-league football, failing to win any of their first six National League fixtures.

This time, though new manager Bates wants to cut that number down.

And as well as the two games arranged, the former defender, in his first full season in charge, wants three other games.

“Our pre-season return date is set and we are trying to arrange five pre-season friendlies,” he said last week.

“In the past we have had too many games, and that is even forgetting about the workload in pre-season.

“This time we don’t want to cram the games in, especially with a smaller squad which we will be working on throughout the summer.”