Hartlepool United ‘the fittest bar none’ in the National League

Michael Woods
Michael Woods

Hartlepool United have got the fittest squad in the National League, according to boss Craig Harrison.

And no player epitomises that ethos more than midfielder Michael Woods.

Woods put in a man of the match performance at the weekend as Pools made it four wins out of five with a 2-1 victory at Leyton Orient.

And Harrison admits he was delighted by the 27-year-old’s tireless show, before proclaiming his side as the fittest in the fifth tier.

“Woodsy never stopped. He is chasing 40 yards on 90 minutes to close down having trained once in the week. Credit to him,” said Harrison.

“We have a fitter squad than anyone at this level I think.

“We have got young players. That brings a lack of fear and an enthusiasm to the table.”

They might be fit but Harrison admits he is relieved there is no midweek fixture.

He cites some of the work done after the Maidstone win as one of the key reasons for Pools’ recent upturn in fortunes.

“The lads haven’t got a midweek game which is important for recovery,” he said.

“We have to take each game as it comes - that is what has got us success.

“We can never take our eye off the ball in this league.

“We know the next game will be very tough against Eastleigh and we will be 100% prepared for that.”

Pools started the season with a winless run of six games.
And while many lost faith in the manager in his players, Harrison always had a calm assurance about him.

“I always thought we would come good,” said the manager.

“I know what I am, what my staff are good at and my players.

“We knew we were not good enough. We have changed things in that respect. We have performed on the pitch.

“A lot of football at this level is in your head.

“We have good players and staff but the mental side is masssive.

“That’s what good results can do for you.”