The fittest players in the Hartlepool United squad revealed - some surprises

The Hartlepool United squad returned for their first full training session of the 2019-20 campaign this week – and they were immediately put through their paces.

By Dominic Scurr
Thursday, 27 June, 2019, 10:24
Fraser Kerr was one of the top performers in Hartlepool's running drill on the return to pre season. Picture by FRANK REID

A gruelling training drill tasked players to run as far as they physically could in a 12 minute time-frame in an exercise that proved to be a baptism of fire for the players returning from their summer holidays. 

The player who set the pace on the return to training was 20-year-old defender Adam Bale, who ran over two miles in the allotted time. 

“I’ve done a lot of work over the summer with Jon (Whitney) so I knew what the test was going to be,” Bale told the club website. 

“Me, Jon and a lot of the lads have been coming in two days a week to do the running. I don’t mind the running so when I get going and get a bit of pace, it’s just about keeping the same pace.”

New goalkeeper Ben Killip was the surprise runner-up in the training drill, finishing just behind Bale. And Craig Hignett couldn’t believe his eyes when he saw the results. 

“I don’t know if you’ve seen (Killip) run but I’ve never seen a keeper run like him, he was unbelievable,” admitted the Hartlepool manager. 

Sign up to our daily newsletter

“Adam Bale, yesterday in the running, I haven’t seen anything like it, he was flying around the pitch but to see a keeper, keeping up with him, you’re like, you’re kidding me aren’t you?! 

“Ross Turnbull had a smile like the Cheshire cat because he’s never had a keeper whose been up there with the running.

“Then we found out Ben’s mam was a marathon runner so it made more sense.

“Overall, I was pleasantly surprised with some of the results we got.”

Luke James and Fraser Kerr respectively rounded off the top four, with Kerr stating: “You need to look after yourself in the summer, do a bit of work so you come back in decent shape and hopefully pre-season isn’t too tough.”

Pools open their play their first pre-season friendly schedule at Billingham Town next Tuesday.