Hartlepool United’s well-travelled physio loves per-season at Catterick Camp

HUFC training at Catterick. Picture by FRANK REID
HUFC training at Catterick. Picture by FRANK REID

No-one at Hartlepool United has done as many pre-seasons as Ian Gallagher.

After starting his time as a player in the 90s to now as head physio, the Poolie, known as Buster, has travelled far in the hot days of July.

This is the best pre-season, 100 per cent

Pools physio Ian Gallagher

From Houghall under Mick Tait, to Oswestry, Norway, Scotland, the Netherlands and Spain, Gallagher has seen it all.

Gallagher suggested a pre-season Catterick Camp visit to Ronnie Moore this year and, rather like the man from Del Monte, the manager said yes.

“I’ve been wanting to come here for years, this is perfect for what the lads need,” he told SportMail.

“This is the best pre-season, 100 per cent.

“It’s about fitness, mental toughness, team building and leaders.

“It’s pushing them to the max as athletes, but it’s all about team work, helping each other out.

“It’s been great watching them work as a team.”

Gallagher would not say a word against former boss Colin Cooper, who took Pools to a five-star La Cala in Spain last year.

Each manager has different ideas about pre-season friendlies, camps, tours et al.

But Gallagher looks more comfortable with Catterick than La Cala. There is even a Poolie in charge, Staff Sargeant Paul Tucker, of the Royal Artillery Physical Training Corps.

“We’re Hartlepool,” was Buster’s succinct answer.

“When the gaffer came, I said we needed something old school for pre-season, a taste of the real world and this is it.

“Tucks is from Hartlepool and the gaffer let me get on and sort it out with him.

“I have to say Tucks has been looking forward to it as much as me.

“It’s all about the peaking for August 8.”

Billy Paynter has been the star of the show so far at Marne Barracks, not just in terms of his work-rate but also the smile count.

“Billy’s been brilliant, at the front and laughing all the time,” said Gallagher. “But I must say well done to Michael Woods, whose getting back to fitness after a bad injury last season.

“He’s worked his socks off and is four weeks ahead of schedule and doing everything.”