More friendlies in the pipeline for Hartlepool United despite hectic schedule

Manager Craig Hignett has planned a busy pre-season schedule for Hartlepool United this July with six friendlies arranged – and he still wants more.

Friday, 21st June 2019, 06:00 am
Updated Friday, 21st June 2019, 07:00 am
Hartlepool have two fixtures lined up at the Super 6 Stadium so far this pre-season.

So far Pools have fixtures set-up with a host of local Northern League sides as well as a few eye catching matches at home to Middlesbrough and away to York City.

The full-on schedule sees Pools play six matches in less than three weeks which leaves a gap of two weeks before the National League season gets underway on August 3.

In those two weeks, Hignett is looking to arrange ‘one or two’ more friendly matches for his side as he wants them to be as fit as possible when their competitive campaign commences.

“We’ll put another one in definitely, one or two,” said the Hartlepool manager. Ideally two because I want to play lots of games and with the squad I have, I think I’ll be able to.

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“I want all the players to have plenty of minutes in their legs come the first game of the season so it’s not a shock to the system.”

Hignett’s men open their wholesome pre-season away to Billingham Town on Tuesday, July 2 (7pm kick-off) before visiting Shildon on the Saturday (July 6, 7pm kick-off) and Newton Aycliffe the following Tuesday (July 9, 7:30pm kick-off). Championship neighbours Boro will then visit the Super 6 Stadium on July 14 (1pm kick-off) in what is likely to be Pools’ sternest pre-season test of the summer.

National League North outfit York City host Hignett’s side on July 17 (7pm kick-off) before their home match against Sheffield United under-23s on July 20 (3pm kick-off).

It remains to be seen who Hartlepool will play in the fortnight after facing the young Blades side. Should they be able to add two more friendly fixtures, it will be their busiest pre-season programme since 2015. With Middlesbrough the only higher ranked side Pools are set to face this summer, another big home match against a Football League side would be ideal for the club.

Securing a match against a fellow non-league side shouldn’t be an issue with nearby National League North sides Gateshead, Spennymoor Town and Blyth Spartans all potentially available should United wish to arrange something.