HARTLEPOOL United manager Dave Challinor has been giving his take on their quickfire pre-season schedule with the first friendly being played this afternoon.

Runcorn Linnets are today's opponents for Pools followed by games against National League North sides Spennymoor Town, Blyth Spartans and Gateshead before their league opener against Crawley. 

New signings Neill Byrne, Martin Smith and Reagan Ogle are all expected to be involved in this afternoon's game alongside a number of trialists. 

Pools have had just six weeks between their play-off final win over Torquay United and the start of the League Two season. 

Challinor said: "The pre-season we’ve got is a consequence of where our season finished and the league we are in and it was a consequence I was absolutely willing to take because we’re a Football League club.

"You can look at pre-season in a lot of different ways. Would we have loved to have had a sterner test? Potentially.

"Win all of our pre-season games, regardless of your opposition, we’ll go into the first game of the season in a pretty positive manner.

"The pre-season is what it is. We’ve got lads who are all at different stages. We’ve got people who haven’t kicked a ball since May 9th, eight or nine weeks ago and we’ve got lads who played in a play-off final only three weeks ago.

"Our pre-season was always going to be disjointed, we couldn’t plan anything because of not knowing what league we’re in, not knowing when we’ll start, when we’re back training, all those anomalies.

"But like I say they are anomalies I would have absolutely taken. If we could have guaranteed ourselves becoming a Football League club. That’s the case so we’ll deal with what we’ve got to deal with this season and make sure that won’t become an excuse for us and we’ll know and make sure we’re ready to go on August 7th."