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BAKER: WE NEED TO BE FIRING

12 July 2016

Hawks test crucial to prepare for Carlisle opener

The countdown is on for the start of the 2016/17 League Two season.

Pompey will get the campaign underway when they host Carlisle at Fratton Park on Saturday, August 6.

Paul Cook’s side have already faced two warm-up matches against Sligo and Bohemians during their trip to Ireland.

But now they are back in Blighty and face neighbours Havant & Waterlooville at Westleigh Park on Wednesday night (7pm kick-off).

And for Carl Baker it provides another chance to move towards peak physical condition ahead of their clash with the Cumbrians.

The summer signing said: “You probably only return to your maximum fitness after six or seven games, so these friendlies are all about getting a feel for the ball again.

“You’re learning how the team play and – the main thing – you’re also getting fitter with every match.

“The season’s less than a month away now and we need to make sure we’re firing for the opening test.

“That’s what we’re aiming for and the games we’ve got coming up will help us to reach that level.

“It’s important to help the local sides and I’m sure there will be a good gate there on Wednesday with plenty of Pompey fans.”

The Blues were based at the Johnstown Hotel in Enfield, County Meath during their time in Ireland and Baker felt it was a worthwhile experience.

He said: “It was nice for me to get to know the lads a little bit more and find out how things work – it was an enjoyable time.

“A week is a long time away from the family, but I was able to get a lot out of it and we got a couple of games under our belts.

“When you’re spending so much time with the lads day in, day out you get to know their personalities. That’s perfect for new players.”

Tickets for the Havant & Waterlooville game are priced £10 for adults and £5 for seniors (65+) and juniors (under 16). They can be bought on the gate at Westleigh Park.

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