THREE things we want to see from Hartlepool United in final pre-season friendly against Macclesfield Town

With just over a week until the start of the National League season, Hartlepool United have one final friendly to prepare.

Friday, 26th July 2019, 11:45 am
Updated Friday, 26th July 2019, 12:45 pm
Hartlepool United's 2019-20 squad photo.

Pools will welcome League Two outfit Macclesfield Town to the Super 6 Stadium on Saturday (3pm kick-off) as they look to conclude their largely positive pre-season campaign on a high note.

Here are three things we’d like to see from Hartlepool this weekend…

Opening Day XI

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Hartlepool United in action at York City (photo: Frank Reid)

Last weekend saw Pools field what is arguably their strongest line-up of fully-fit players. Ben Killip started in between the sticks, Michael Raynes and Fraser Kerr were at the heart of defence with Kenton Richardson and Romoney Crichlow-Noble either side as full-backs.

Gus Mafuta, Jason Kennedy and Liam noble played as a midfield three and Luke James and Gime Toure played alongside Nicke Kabamba up front.

With the exception of Crichlow-Noble, that side will likely start the National League season on August 3.

Whatever Hignett wants his team to be for the Sutton United match should be the one who lines-up against Macclesfield.

Luke Williams impressed after coming off the bench last Saturday (photo: Frank Reid).

More Luke Williams

Injuries to Luke Molyneux and Josh Hawkes in pre-season means the sooner Luke Williams can start matches the better for Pools.

The midfielder made an impressive substitute cameo last weekend and his involvement against Macclesfield is expected to come from the bench once again.

While it’s important not to rush Williams back before he’s ready, giving him a good run-out on Saturday would be a huge boost for the player and the team as a whole.

Manager Craig Hignett has been disappointed with the goals Hartlepool have been conceding (photo: Frank Reid)

Effectiveness in both boxes

Pools should have beaten their young Sheffield United opponents 5-0 or 6-0 last Saturday. Had it not been for a late piece of magic from Williams, the game would have ended 3-2.

The last four goals conceded by Pools have all been avoidable so it’s crucial they demonstrate an improved level of defensive resilience against a Macclesfield side that will look to cause problems.

Conviction is required at both ends of the field, creating dozens of good opportunities is encouraging – but they need to be converted.

The best National League sides are ruthless going forward and that’s something Pools will need to bring to their game this campaign.