Matthew Crichton: Paul Hartley was appointed as Hartlepool’s new manager earlier this summer, how did supporters view that given his lack of experience in English football?
Mark Carroll: Paul Hartley’s appointment was met with approval from Pools fans, he was mentioned by the press in the early stages of the interview stage.
His playing background and success at all levels in Scotland, managing Dundee in the SPL for one showed that he knew how to build winning teams with not the biggest budgets. He has managed over 400 games and we believe he will take to the EFL.
Matthew: Hartlepool finished 17th in League Two last season, what are your aspirations for the new campaign?
Mark: Last season we finished tamely and that cost Graeme Lee his job, but overall we had a good campaign.
As I write this we much like Sunderland are still some players short and some of our signings are unknown at this level so a top half finish, improving on last season will do me.
Matthew: In terms of incomings, are you pleased with your business so far this summer?
Mark: We have had a big turnover of players, twelve so far. Some with League Two experience and a good number from Scotland, so there is a bit of the unknown but we did need a big change.
Matthew: One high-profile departure was ex-Sunderland winger Luke Molyneux, do you think he is destined to play at higher levels?
Mark: I expected Luke to go to a League One side in the summer so I was surprised he chose a League Two team. During last season he flourished playing in the right of a front three and scored many memorable goals.
Matthew: Former Sunderland left-back David Ferguson worked his way back up the pyramid from the Northern League to play League Two football with Hartlepool, how crucial is he to your side?
Mark: David has been a fantastic signing since day one, he was the top assister in his York City side and I regard him as one of the best left-back/wing-backs in the league.
He carried that on last season and added goals too, so I was delighted to see him sign a new two-year deal this summer.
Matthew: Aside from the above-mentioned players, who should Sunderland be wary of?
Mark: If Sena Niang plays (who we signed from Partick) then he's a very competitive and mobile central midfielder.
Matthew: Based on your other pre-season matches, which eleven players do you think Hartley will select?
Mark: I will take a guess at our starting team:
GK: Killip, LB: Ferguson, CD: Lacey, CD: Murray, RB: Tumilty, CM: Niang, CM: Featherstone, CM: Cooke, LW: Ndjoli, ST: Hamilton, RW: Hastie.
Matthew: In terms of style of play, what are Alex Neil’s side likely to encounter?
Mark: Paul Hartley has implemented a high press style and pace and aggression in attack. The side looks organised in and out of possession.
Matthew: Lastly, what is your prediction for the final score?
Mark: I will go for a 1-1 draw.