Paul Hartley still keen to strengthen following Mikael Ndjoli signing as Hartlepool United host Sunderland

Paul Hartley admits it remains difficult to gauge a complete measure of his side in pre-season whilst he continues to look for further additions to his squad.

Hartley’s side welcome North East neighbours Sunderland to the Suit Direct Stadium this evening in what is Hartlepool United’s final fixture ahead of their trip to Walsall at the weekend.

And although there have been some encouraging signs in the friendlies with Lincoln City and Blackburn Rovers recently, Hartley suggests it will be hard to use tonight’s fixture as a full dress rehearsal while he remains one or two players short of what his final squad will look like.

“It’s still hard because I’ve not got all the players in that I want yet to really push us and make us stronger. We’ll be working to do that over the next period of days,” said Hartley.

Paul Hartley is edging nearer to the squad he wants at Hartlepool United. Picture by FRANK REID

“We’re a positive team. I’m a positive manager, we’re a positive coaching staff and we’ve got positive players. That’s what we want here.

“We want to play on the front foot with attacking football but have the organisation and discipline.”

Pools have bolstered their attacking ranks further following the arrival of striker Mikael Ndjoli who is set to feature against the Black Cats this evening.

Ndjoli agreed a two-year deal at the Suit Direct Stadium and joins new signings Josh Umerah and Jack Hamilton in attack.

Boss Hartley said: “He can play anywhere along the front, he’s positive, plays with speed, really good in one-on-one situations. He’s versatile and still young so we are excited to work with him."