Michael Raynes on 'exciting' pre-season at Hartlepool United
Summer signing Michael Raynes believes Hartlepool United have a ‘proper squad’ who are ready to tackle the upcoming National League season.
The 31-year-old spent a brief spell on loan at the Super 6 Stadium from Crewe Alexandra last season before returning on a permanent basis at the end of the 2018-19 season.
Raynes rounded off the public pre-season matches in impressive fashion as he scored his first goal for the club in a 3-0 victory against League Two side Macclesfield Town.
And following the game, the defender was keen to praise the strength of the whole Pools squad ahead of Saturday’s competitive season opener against Sutton United.
“It’s a proper squad – you look at the lads who weren’t involved and they would get in most squads in this league,” Raynes admitted.
“Everything has gone good and that’s a credit to the coaching staff, everything has been gone through with a fine-tooth comb. Everyone has had minutes so no-one has an excuse going into the season. It’s exciting times, fingers crossed we can have a good start .
“It’s a long season, there are a lot of games in a short period of time, but if we don’t then there is still a long way to go – we’ve done everything we can.”
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Raynes has been a stand-in skipper of sorts for Pools this pre-season given the injury to club captain Ryan Donaldson.
And as one of the most experienced members of the Hartlepool squad, the former Stockport County, Oxford United and Carlisle United (among others) defender hasn’t taken long to settle on his return.
“I’ve really been welcomed, from the lads, from the staff, everyone really,” Raynes added.
“I’ve a great relationship with [the manager, Craig Hignett]. He’s been brilliant, we’ve had hundreds of chats over the summer, it was an easy decision to make to be honest.
“We have a very good squad and there is not much I this league I’d swap for what we’ve got in our dressing room.
“Last season was a write-off for me, but I’m trying to look at it as a positive and that I’ve had a year off and I’m feeling fresh.”