Gateshead manager Mike Williamson comments on Hartlepool United's 'fantastic' promotion ahead of pre-season friendly

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Gateshead manager Mike Williamson has praised Hartlepool United’s ‘fantastic season’ ahead of Saturday’s pre-season friendly at the International Stadium (3pm kick-off).

Pools were promoted back to the Football League following a play-off final penalty shoot out victory over Torquay United last month.

Now Dave Challinor’s side are preparing for a short trip north to Gateshead for their third pre-season friendly this weekend.

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The Heed haven’t played a competitive match since January 2020 and the game against Pools will see fans return to the International Stadium for the first time since March 2020.

Mike Williamson in action for Gateshead in pre-season (photo: Gateshead FC)Mike Williamson in action for Gateshead in pre-season (photo: Gateshead FC)
Mike Williamson in action for Gateshead in pre-season (photo: Gateshead FC)

Gateshead hosted Pools last pre-season with the visitors emerging as 4-1 victors thanks to goals from Gary Liddle, Joe Grey, David Parkhouse and Claudio Ofosu.

As it stands, Williamson’s side are the only full-time opponents Pools are scheduled to face ahead of the new League Two season. And the Tynesiders’ player-manager is keen to give Hartlepool a good test this weekend having watched his side score 17 goals in their opening four pre-season matches.

“Last season we played them in pre-season and they were very strong and physical,” Williamson told the club website.

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“Off the back of that had a fantastic season and they’ve stepped up a level which is good for the area. For us it’s about our process and making sure we carry on everything we’ve been doing in previous games, regardless of the standard of opponent.

“I’m looking forward to it because it will be a good test and one that will be different for us.”

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