Youthful Pools for Whitby trip

Hartlepool United manager Colin Cooper
Hartlepool United manager Colin Cooper
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HARTLEPOOL United are set to field a youthful side at Evo-Stik League Premier Division Whitby Town tomorrow as their pre-season preparations continue.

Manager Colin Cooper is looking to give outings to the players who did not feature against Sunderland on Wednesday.

That means a number of the younger players are expected to get a run-out, with the majority of the first team playing the full 90 minutes against Gus Poyet’s side.

The likes of keeper Andy Rafferty, defenders Jordan Richards, Dan Jones and Josh Nearney are likely to start alongside Connor Smith, Josh Rowbotham and Lewis Hawkins in midfield.

Forward Jonathan Franks, who came on against Sunderland at half-time, could also start as he looks to continue his good pre-season form.

Cooper is looking forward to the trip to the Turnbull Ground and giving his younger players some game time.

“We will swing the team around from the Sunderland match,” Cooper said.

“The right thing to do is to give those lads who didn’t feature against Sunderland the chance to do so against Whitby.

“We had 20 players available Wednesday night and that included Connor Smith, who is still under 18.

“We will have the same 20 available on Saturday so what we will do is give those players who didn’t get many minutes the chance against Whitby.

“I’ve said to the others that they will be the support and one or two of them will play 20 minutes or half an hour, depending on how it pans out.

“We want to try and get as many people as many minutes as we can, throughout the games that we have got.

“The aim is to do that and get them all through fit and healthy to Stevenage on the opening day of the season.”

Trialist Tommy Miller could feature again at some point as he bids to win a contract at the club.

But fellow trialist Michael Woods remains a doubt after pulling his groin in the warm-up on Wednesday night.

There will be a number of familiar faces in the Whitby Town line-up as well with former Pools left-back Mark Robinson the club’s captain.

Ex-Pools midfielder Lee Bullock also plays for Town, while their manager is ex-Sunderland defender Darren Williams, who made 74 appearances for Pools between 2005 and 2007.

In their last friendly match, Whitby Town were beaten 3-0 by a strong Hamilton Accies side.

Tickets for the match cost £6 for adults, £3 for concessions and Under-18s are £2.