St Johnstone-Hartlepool United: Time on field vital for Pools

Jake Cassidy could play at St Johnstone tomorrow. Picture by BERNADETTE MALCOLMSON
Jake Cassidy could play at St Johnstone tomorrow. Picture by BERNADETTE MALCOLMSON

Craig Harrison will look to get more minutes in the legs of Hartlepool United’s players in tomorrow’s difficult friendly at St Johnstone.

Nine of his starting XI in Tuesday night’s defeat to Sunderland all got through the entire 90 minutes.

We want to be challenged, we want to be stretched in those later stages

CRAIG HARRISON

And with the National League programme starting just two Saturdays later, he will try to do the same at McDiarmid Park tomorrow (kick-off 2pm).

Jack Munns and Kenton Richardson, who both came off the bench against the Black Cats, can expect starts.

Liam Donnelly, who came on for Conor Newton on Tuesday night, would have started tomorrow, but is a doubt with a dead leg.

Newton will probably make his third successive start as Harrison looks to build up the midfielder’s fitness after becoming his eighth signing last week.

Nicky Featherstone will come into the side while Nicky Deverdics is also due a start if he comes through training with no ill-effects from the knock he took at Harrogate last weekend.

Jake Cassidy, the first of the Harrison signing spree, should start up front if he is passed fit after niggly hamstring trouble.

The Pools boss will also take a look at at least two of his triallists, former Swedish League defender James Risborough and ex-Boro winger Junior Mondal. Both played 90 minutes at Harrogate last weekend.

Whatever the make-up of the team, Pools will be braced for a tough afternoon in Perth.

St Johnstone come into the friendly cock-a-hoop after blowing away Sunderland 3-0 last Saturday.

The Scottish top flight side could have been five or six up by half-time, right winger David Wotherspoon giving the Black Cats left side a torrid time.

Central midfielder Stefan Scougall also showed his quality, so Pools will have to be on their mettle tomorrow.

Harrison was pleased with the way his side rose to the challenge against Sunderland and will want an action replay.

Pools had to contend with a very strong Black Cats finishing XI at Victoria Park, boss Simon Grayson sending on over £40 million of talent in the second half.

“We want to be challenged,” said Harrison. “We want to be stretched in those later stages.

“When the real business starts and we are away from home against a team who are pummeling us, physically and mentally, then we are going to have to stand up and be counted and see games out.”