HARTLEPOOL United have rediscovered their tempo and intensity in time for the League Two season, according to Stuart Parnaby.
The 32-year-old summer signing has been encouraged by the pre-season itinerary and the balance within the team.
A week-long stay in Spain was the prelude to seven friendlies which end tonight away to Spennymoor Town.
Parnaby admits that the level of performances have been short of what is need when the league gets underway, but says progression was evident during Saturday’s 1-1 draw at Bradford City.
“Bradford was perfect because Stevenage (this weekend’s opponents in the Sky Bet League Two opener) are similar, pretty direct, so it was a good test,” he said.
“As a game, it’s more of what we are going to get and can expect in the league.
“In the Sunderland and Middlesbrough games, you don’t get much of the ball and you’re sitting back a lot.
“We needed to up the tempo and intensity to get up to the level to start the season at.
“It was a lot better in every aspect really.”
The change in scenery has not daunted the 2011 League Cup winner, rather he has embraced his new surroundings.
He added: “It’s been easy to settle in when there’s a few lads I know and when there’s a good set of lads.
“There’s nothing to worry about, just go in and enjoy the training and enjoy the banter which makes it pretty easy.
“It’s nice to be in a good environment with good people around me.
“The lads have gelled well and it’s a great set of lads.
“Everyone wants to do the same thing and achieve.”
One aspect of the team that Parnaby believes stands Pools in good stead is the mixture of youth and experience.
“We have a mixture of old and young which is good.
“Hopefully the older heads can help the young ones and they can help us with their legs.
“We have a good blend and I think we’re pretty much ready to go.”
Brad Walker ghosted in from midfield and sidefooting Pools ahead after the hour mark.
Holden did well down the left and his square pass towards Luke James scurried itself, purposefully, through the young striker and onto Walker who coolly slotted the opener.
But Billy Clarke Clarke picked up a bouncing ball 18 yards out and volleyed past Scott Flinders to restore parity.
Mo Sharrif volleyed a stunning 25-yard attempt in the dying embers of the game but his effort was matched by Flinders who dived to his right to deny a top-corner finish.
BRADFORD: Pickford, Darby, Davies, McArdle (Routis 68), Sheehan; Liddle, Dolan (Meredith 75), Knott (Kennedy 75); Yeates (McBurnie 68), Hanson, Clarke (Sharrif 85) Subs not used: Urwin, Coulson, Hassall, Campion, Heaton.
HARTLEPOOL: Flinders, Duckworth, Collins (Holden 17), Bates, Austin ; Parnaby (Richards 71), Miller, Walker, Compton (Franks 67), James; Harewood. Subs not used: Rafferty, Rowbotham, Nearney, Hawkins, Smith, Jones
* Blackpool, not Hartlepool, is the most likely destination for Jonathan Greening who has teamed up with the Championship outfit, after trials at Pools and Rotherham.
The midfielder, 35, is expected to sign for the Seasiders in the coming days.
“After the game on Wednesday he informed me that he’d had an offer from Blackpool,” Cooper explained to SportMail.
“It’ll be very difficult for me to match what Blackpool can offer him.
“As much as I’d love to have him, he might be one that just slipped through the net.
“But that’s football, that’s life. It doesn’t alter my relationship with him.”
Greening intended to spend the week training with Pools until Blackpool’s calling.
Cooper added: “I’ve known Jonathan for a long time and he’s a very, very good footballer.”