Hartlepool Utd hope to add one further pre-season friendly to Sunderland and Middlesbrough games

WELCOME ABOARD: Matthew Bates. Picture courtesy of Pools Player
WELCOME ABOARD: Matthew Bates. Picture courtesy of Pools Player

COLIN Cooper is looking to add one further friendly to Hartlepool United’s pre-season programme.

The Pools boss will take his squad for some warm-weather training to a complex near Malaga on July 6 and after a week in Spain will build up to the start of the Sky Bet League Two campaign on August 9.

Pools will visit Yorkshire twice, travelling to Bradford Park Avenue on Saturday, July 19, and Whitby Town the following Saturday. Both are 3pm kick-offs.

In between is the plum fixture, a match with Premier League neighbours Sunderland, Gus Poyet’s men coming to the Vic on Wednesday, July 23 (7.30pm kick-off)

Cooper’s side will have a home derby with Middlesbrough on Wednesday, July 30 (also a 7.30pm kick-off).

And the Pools boss is looking to add a game on the weekend before the League Two fixtures get under way.

“I’m very happy with what we’ve arranged so far,” Cooper told SportMail.

“Spain will be good, the facilities there are excellent.

“I’m pleased with the matches we have, but we are still one game short.

“We were let down [for the Saturday, August 2 weekend] and I’m trying to figure how best to fill that gap.

“We have the England Ladies here on Sunday, August 3.

“Ideally, I’d have loved a game here that weekend but with the internationl that won’t be possible.

“I will look to fill that space we have with probably a Friday night game, home or away.

“If it does not fall into place then that’s unfortunate.

“But I have to say the fixtures leading up to that are very good.

“We have two competitive away matches and the two big friendlies with Sunderland and Middlesbrough are fantastic fixtures for us, there are no two ways about it.

“You are talking Premiership and Championship opposition which will make for brilliant games.

“I am happy with all those games but I’d be happier if we have something on that last weekend ahead of the start of the season.

“We need to get something in that Friday or Saturday.”

Cooper was today meeting his first-team staff to map out the pre-season preparations.

The players return from their summer break on July 1.