Hartlepool United-Middlesbrough will be great way to build for National League start

Jake Cassidy.
Jake Cassidy.

Jake Cassidy says he and Hartlepool United are looking to take another step towards the National League with another tough friendly.

Pools follow matches against Sunderland and St Johnstone tomorrow night when they host Middlesbrough U23 at Victoria Park.

It’s a good dressing room and a great set of lads and a manager with good ideas and philosophy


Cassidy, who played the opening 45 minutes against the Saints at the weekend, says a contest with Boro’s gifted youngsters is just what Pools need ahead of their National League opener with Dover Athletic a week on Saturday.

“It will be a tough game, Middlesbrough are a fantastic club,” Cassidy told SportMail.

“They will give us a tough team and it’s a chance for the gaffer to set out his stall and show us what he wants.

“Boro are a really good team who will probably keep the ball for long periods – that will really test us but stand us in good stead.”

Cassidy will be hoping to get a good first stint in tomorrow night at the Vic.

The former Wales U21 striker is coming back to fitness after having his friendly appearances restricted by hamstring trouble.

Cassidy is looking to lead the Pools line into the season and is excited at the prospect of a promotion assault.

“It’s one I’m looking forward to,” said the 24-year-old.

“It’s a good dressing room and a great set of lads and a manager with good ideas and philosophy.

“It’s now about looking to try to start the season on a high and keep it going through the season.”

He knows what it takes in the division, having spent seven months at Guiseley last term, when he bagged eight goals, a haul which went a long way to helping them stay up.

Cassidy was grateful to the Yorkshire outfit to giving him a way back into football, having left Oldham Athletic in the early weeks of last season, but is now happy to be looking towards the top of the table.

“After leaving Oldham I took six or seven weeks out of football, after the birth of my son, Alfie-J,” he said.

“I needed to get back into football and Guiseley was the perfect opportunity.

“I knew the manager and his assistant from my time at Southend

“I really did enjoy my football. It was not the level I wanted to be playing at the time but sometimes you have to take one step back to try to regain confidence.

“I think I did that and I did all right there.

“We were struggling a bit in the league, I think we had three points from 15 games before I joined.

“Going into a bit of a negative environment, I did well to get the goals I did.

“Hartlepool, you would have to say, would be up there as favourites, probably alongside Tranmere.

“If we are to win this league we are going to have to live up to expectation and try to kick on.”