Paul Hartley had this to say about his Hartlepool United squad ahead of season opener at Walsall

Paul Hartley believes his Hartlepool United squad will be competitive for their opening game of the season at Walsall despite suggesting he is unfinished in the transfer market.

As of writing, Pools have recruited 12 new signings already this summer as Hartley continues his rebuild at the Suit Direct Stadium.

And so far, the early signs in pre-season have been quite positive, with Pools putting on some decent displays against the likes of Blackburn Rovers and Sunderland.

But as Hartley has suggested, the emphasis is now all on Saturday’s trip to Walsall where, unlike in pre-season, results are the focus.

Paul Hartley believes his Hartlepool United squad will be competitive in season opener at Walsall. Picture by FRANK REID

“I believe we’re getting there, and I believe that we’ll have enough players in the group that will be really competitive in the first game of the season,” revealed Hartley.

“But not every team has got their strongest squads yet. I was at some games over the last 10 days and teams are still short.

“The movement is still quite slow in the market. So we’ve just got to pick the right ones.

“You can’t just get somebody in for the sake of it who won’t help us.”

The Pools boss added: “We’re really happy. It’s been five weeks since we came in and the hard work started.

“There’s obviously been a lot of changes within that period with players coming in and players going out. So it was never going to be an easy transition. But now the real stuff starts on Saturday.

“I don’t really particularly like pre-season games to be honest, I think they can be false. Now the work starts on how we can go and win on Saturday.”