`

Matthew Bates provides Hartlepool injury update plus reveals his thoughts on Jack Munns' exit

Hartlepool United boss Matthew Bates has reported a clean bill of health ahead of this weekend's National League opener against Maidstone.

The manager admits having a full squad to choose is from is positive in one sense, but it also makes his job that much harder when it comes to selecting a starting XI and bench to face the Stones in Kent on Saturday.

"We have everyone available, a full squad," said Bates.

"We have two light days to come to keep them fresh and it’s about picking a team and a squad.

"Keeping them all happy is part of my job – to be honest with them. Impress me in training is what I've said.

"It’s about getting the best squad on a weekend and that’s how I work – no guaranteed spots in there for anyone."

Matthew Bates.

Matthew Bates.

Preparation is never easy for a curtain-raiser, with pre-season offering little in the way of concrete selection pointers for the opposition.

Bates says he's had Maidstone watched.

"Saturday is the first of a lot of long trips to come, it’s how the division is," he said of the weekend.

"We prepare for Maidstone, but they have only been in pre-season too.

"We have had them watched, but it’s different. Now it’s about us not the opposition – 80% us, 20 the opposition. If we get it right as a club and a team we can beat anyone, our philosophy is about us, not the opposition."

One high profile move in the market this week was Pools negotiating the release of Jack Munns.

The midfielder had a year left on his Victoria Park deal but, having been told he was not part of plans, was allowed to leave.

The player is understood to already have a move back south lined up.

Bates revealed: "We have spoke with Jack a few weeks now about going elsewhere and playing football – he didn’t fit into my way or plans.

"He’s a great fella and he’s trained well, but going forward he was never part of the plans.

"It was down to his agent to earn his money and find a club, I’m sure he’s been talking to one or two and he will get fixed up."