Rhys Oates is putting in the hard yards in the blistering heat of Egypt to ensure he hits the ground running ahead of a gruelling pre-season Army bootcamp.
The confident 20-year-old joined on a free transfer from League One side Barnsley and is looking to make an instant impression on boss Ronnie Moore.
Oates is currently enjoying an Egyptian summer break but says it won’t be all sun, sea and relaxation ahead of pre-season training getting underway at the end of this month.
He is planning on combining his holiday with some extra training ahead of a gruelling 46-match League Two campaign - and THAT trip to Catterick Garrison, in North Yorkshire.
Moore is taking his squad to Catterick for a week of intense training and team bonding in July, instead of a trip abroad as has been the case in recent seasons.
“I’m off to Egypt for 10 days but I will be making sure I will be training over there too,” Oates said.
“I will have some hot weather training - that will be tough going!
“Catterick will be a bit different but it is going to be a really good for team bonding.
“It will obviously be hard work but I’m looking forward to it in some ways but not others!
“It will be great to build the fitness though and to get to know the lads a lot better.”
Oates was Moore’s second signing of the summer, adding competition to the forward ranks, with Scott Fenwick and Rakish Bingham all competing for a starting spot.
He was released by Barnsley after 14 years at the club and while he admits it felt “strange” leaving Oakwell, he knows it was time to move on and he is targeting a top seven finish next season.
Oates, who had been at the Yorkshire club since the age of six, added: “It seems a bit strange I won’t be going back there, but in football it happens.
“You just have to move on to the next challenge.”
And now he is at Pools he is looking to help the club improve on last year’s finish of third-bottom in League Two.
Ambitious Oates said: “We will set targets to be a lot higher in the league and that will be the first priority.
“We will have to see how the first couple of months go and then maybe even push for the play-offs.”